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THE 



AGE OF REASON: 



BEING 



AN INVESTIGATION 



OF 



TRUE AND FABULOUS THEOLOGY, 



By THOMAS PAINE, 

Mover of the "Declaration of Independence," Secretary of Foreign Af- 
fairs under the First American Congress, member of the National 
Convention of France, and author of " Common Sense," 
"The Crisis," " Rights of Man," Etc., Etc. 



NO 
G. E, WILSON, I r y _ ^ 

PUBLISHER AND BOOKSELLEfer * ^ ^'^^ 

Chicago. 



i^^A^ 



P.O. Dept. 



FELLOW CITIZENS 



OF THB 



United States of America. 



I PUT the following work linder your protection. It oontaina 
my opinion upon Eeligion. You will do me the justice to remem- 
ber, that I have always strenuously supported the Eight of every 
Man to his opinion, however different that opinion might be ta 
mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of him» 
self to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the righ| 
of changing it. 

The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is 
Reason. I have never used any other, and I trust I never shalL 

Your affectionate friend and fellow citizen, 

THOMAS PAINE. 

iMxembourg^ {Parish ^th Pulvozse, 

Second year of the French Republic, one and indiaifi^, 

January 27, 0. S, 1794 



THE AGE OF REASON. 



PABT 7IB8T. 

It kaa been mj intentioii, for terenJ JMri paat, to peb- 
liab mj Noughts upon reli|^oii; I am well aware of the oiJI- 
etilties tkat attend the subjeot, and from that oootidera^oa, 
had reeeryed it to a more advaxioed period of life. I in- 
tended it to be the }a«t offering I should make to mj fellow- 
dtiaens c^ all nations, and that at a time when the purity ol 
the motiye that induced me to it, could not admit of a quea- 
tlon, even by those who might disapprore the work. 

The eircumstance that has now taken plaoe in France of 
the total aboli^on of the whole national order of priest- 
hood, and of everj thin^ appertaining to oompolttve sjn^eaw 
of reli^on, and oompalsiTe articles of faith, has not only 
^"ecipitated my intenticHi, but rendered a work of tMs kind 
eaceedinfflr necessary, lest, in the general wreck oi super- 
stition, of false systems of ffOTemment, and false theology, 
we lose sight of morality, of humanity, and of the th6<^bgy 
that is true. 

As several of my odileiurues, and others of my Isilow- 
citizens of France, hare given me the example of m^dBj^ 
their voluntiyy and indiridual ]Ht>fessiaQ of faith, I also wiu 
make mine; and I do tins with all ihzt daoerity and frank- 
ness ¥rith which the mind of man oommunioates with itself. 

I believe in one God, and no more; and I hc^ for hi^[^- 
ness beyond this life. 

I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that re- 
ligious duties consist in doing justice, loving meroy, and 
endeavoring to make our fellow creatures happy. 

But, lest it should be supposed that I believe many other 
things in addition to these, I shall, in the progress of tl^ 



• na ▲•> ov BSA0OK. [pasts. 

work, deolar« t^ things I do not beliere, aad mj reMoni 
iw not beliering them. 

I do not believe in the oreed professed by the Jewish 
ehnroh, by the Romen chnroh, bj the Grreek cnuroh, by the 
Ttu-kish ohuroh, by the Protestant ohxiroh, nor by &n j oniiroh 
^t I know of. My own mind is my own ohuroh. 

All national institutions of ehurches, whether Jewish, 
Christian, or Turkish, appev to me no other than human in- 
yenticms, set up to terriff and enslave mankind, and monop- 
olize power and profit. 

I do not mean by this declaration to condemn those who 
believe otherwise; they have the same right to their belief 
as I have to mine. But it is necessary to the happiness of 
man, that he be mentally faithful to himself, infidelity 
^>^ not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it oonsiste 
in professing to believe what he does not believe. 

It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may 
BO express it, that mental lying has produced in society. 
When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chas- 
tity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to 
Uiings he does not believe, he has m>epared himself for the 
oommission of every other crime. He takes up the trade of 
a priest for the sake of gain, and, in order to qualify himself 
for that trade, he begins with a perjury. Can we conceiye 
anything more destructive to morality than this? 

Soon after I had published the pamphlet, **Coicmov 
Sbnsb," in America, I saw the exceeding probability that a 
revolution in the system of government would be followed 
by a revolution in the system of religion. The adulterous 
oonneotion of church and state, wherever it had taken 
place, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, had so effeo* 
tually prohibited, by pains and penalties, every discussion 
upon established ore€^ and upon first principles of relig- 
ion, that until the system of government should be changed, 
those subjects could not be brought fairly uid openly be* 
fore ^e world; but that whenever this should be done, a rey- 
(dution in the system of religion would follow. Human in* 
yentions and priest-craft would be detected; and man would 
return to the pure, unmixed, and unadulterated belief of 
one God, $ind no more. 

Every national church or religion has established itself 
hf pretending some special mission from Gi>d, eoneH^ 



TAKt I.] THX A€»S 07 BKAMX. f 

eated to certain individuals. The Jews hare their Ifosef; 
the Christians their Jesus Christ, their apostles and sainta; 
and the Turks ^eir Mahomet, as if the waj to God was not 
open to eyerj man alike. 

E^oh of those ohurohes show certain books, which they 
call revelaUony or the word of Gk>d. The Jews saj, that thenr 
word of God was given by Qt>d to Moses, face to face; the 
Christiana say, that their word of God oame by divine in- 
spiration; and the Turks say, that their word of God (the 
Koran) was brought by an angel from Heaven. Each of 
those ohurohes accuse the other of unbelief; and, £<x my 
own part, I disbelieve them all. 

As it is necessary to affix right ideas to words, I will, 
before I proceed further into the subject, offer some othef 
observation! on the word reveloMon, Revelation when 
applied to religion, means something communicated tmfii^ 
aiately from God to man. 

jio man will deny or dispute the power of the Almighty 
to make such a communication, if he pleases. But admit- 
ting, for the sake of a case, that something has been revealed 
to a certain person, and not revealed to any other person, it Ml 
revelation to that person only. When he tells it to a »eo- 
ond person, a second to a third, a third to a fourth, and lo 
on, it ceases to be a revelation to all those persons. It ia 
revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every 
other, and, consequentlv, they are not obliged to believe it. 

It is a contradiction in terms and ideas, to call anything 
a revelation that comes to us at second-hand, either verbally 
or in writing. Revelation is necessarily limited to the first 
communication — after this, it is only an account of some- 
thing which that person says was a revelation made to him; 
and though he may find himself obliged to believe it, it can- 
not be incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner; 
for it was not a revelation made to ma, and I have only hii 
word for it that it was made to him. 

When Moses told the children of Israel that he received 
the two tables of the commandments from the hands of God, 
they were not obliged to believe him, besause they had no 
other authority for it than his tilling them so; and I have no 
other authority for it than some historian telling me so. The 
commandments carry no internal evidence of divinity with 
them; they oontaln some good moral precepts suoh as any 



8 THS JLOX OV BXASOV. [PAJBf 1. 

man analified to be a law-g^rer, or a legislator, ooold pro- 
dnca himself, withoat having recourse to supernatural intw* 
Tendon** 

When 1 am told that the Koran was written in Heaven, 
uid brought to Mahomet hj an angel, the account eomes too 
sear the same kind of hearsay evidence and second-hand 
authority as the former. I did not see the angel myself 
and, therefore, I have a right not to believe it, 

When, also, I am told that a woman called the Virgin Mary, 
said, or gave out, that she was with child without any co- 
habitation with a man, and that her betrothed husband, 
Joseph, said that an angel told him so, I have a right to be- 
lieve them or not ; such a oiroumstanoe required a much 
Stronger evidence than their bare word for it ; but we have 
not even this — for neither Joseph nor Mary wrote any such 
matter themselves ; it is only reported by others that they 
Htid $0 — it is hearsay upon hearsay, and I do not choose to 
rest my belief upon such evidence. 

It is, however, not difficult to account for ths credit that 
was given to the story of Jesus Christ being the Son of God. 
He was bom when the heathen mythology had still some 
fashion and repute in the world, and that mythology had pre- 
pared the people for the belief of such a story. Almost all 
the extraordinary men that lived under the heathen mythol- 
ogy were reputed to be the sons of some of their gods. It 
was not a new thing, at that time, to believe a man to have 
been celestially begotten; the intercourse of gods with 
women was then a matter of familiar opinion. Their Jupi- 
ter, according to their accounts, had cohabited with hun- 
dreds ; the story, therefore, had nothing in it either new, won- 
derful or obscene ; it was conformable to the opinions that 
then prevailed among the people called Gentiles, or Mythol- 
ogists, and it was those people only that believed it. The 
Jews, who had kept strictly to the belief of one God, and no 
more, and who had always rejected the heathen mythology, 
never credited the story. 

It is curious to observe how the theory of what is called 
the Christian Church, sprung out of the tail of heathen my- 
thology. A direct incorporation took place in the first in- 
stance, by making the reputed founder to be celestially be^ 

*Ii ia, howeyer, aeeeBBftryto except the declaration which Mji that Qod vteMi 
HU tinij^ th€fath*rt vpon the chUdrm; It iM contrary to eT«7 prtadyUf! 



PASf Z.] TKl ▲«■ OV JOLkMOm. f 

gotten. The tiinitj of gods that then followed was no other 
uian a reduction of the former piurality, which was about 
twen^ or thirty thousand ; the statue of Mary succeeded 
the statue of Diana of Ephesus ; the deirication of heroes 
change into the canonization of saints ; the Mythologists 
had gods for everjrthing; the Christian Mythologists had 
saints for ererything ; tne church became as crowded with 
the one as the pantheon had been with the other ; and 
Rome was the place of both. The Christian theory is little 
else than the idolatry of the ancient Mythologists, accommo- 
dated to the purposes of power and revenue ; and it yet re* 
mains to reason itud philosophj to abolish the amphibious 
fraud. 

Nothing that is here said can apply, even with the most 
distant disrespect, to the real character of Jesus Christ. He 
was a virtuous and an amiable man. The morality that he 
preached and practiced was of the most benevolent kind; 
and though sinular systems of morality had been preached 
by Confucius, and by some of the Greek philosophers, manj 
years before; by the Quakers since; and by many good men 
in all ag^, it has not been exceeded by any. 

Jesus Christ wrote no account of himself^ of his birth, 
parentage, or anything else; not a line of what is called the 
New Testament is of his own writing. The history of him is 
altogether the work of other people; and as to the account 
given of his resurrection and ascension, it was the necessary 
counterpart to the story of his birth. His historians, having 
brought him into the world in a supernatural manner, were 
obliged to take him out again in the same manner, or the 
first part of the story must have fallen to the ground. 

The wretched contrivance with which this latter part is 
told, exceeds everything that went before it. The first part, 
that of the miraculous conception, was not a thing that 
admitted of publicity; and therefore the tellers of this part 
of the story nad this advantage, that though they might not 
be credited, they could not be detected. They could not be 
expected to prove it, because it was not one of those things 
that admitted of proof, and it was impossible that the person 
of whom it was told could prove it himself. 

But the resurrection of a dead person from the grave, 
•nd his ascension through the air, is a thing very different •■ 
to the evidenee it admits of^ to the invisibfo ooncep^oia of 9 



10 1H1 AOB or XBAIQV. [PAST L 

oldld la the womb. The retBireotion and ascension, suppos- 
ing them to hare taken place, admitted of publio and OGolmr 
demongtnitio&, like that of the ascension of a balloon, or the 
son at noon day, to all Jerusalem at least. A thing which 
everybody is required to believe, reouires that the proof and 
evidence of it should be equal to all, and universai; and as 
the publio visibility of this last related act, was the (mly 
evidence that could give sanction to the former part, the 
whole of it falls to the ground, because that evidence never 
was given. Instead of this, a small number of persons, not 
more than eight or nine, are introduced as proxies for the 
whole world, to say they saw it, and all the rest of the world 
are called upon to believe it. But it appears that Thomas did 
not believe the resurrection; and, as they say, would not be- 
lieve without having ocular and manual demonstration him- 
self. So neither will Z, and the reason is equally as good 
for me, and for every other person, as for Thomas. 

It is in vain to attempt to palliate or disguise this ^natter. 
The story, so far as relates to the supernatural part, has 
every mark of fraud and imposition stamped upon the face 
of it. Who were the authors of it is as impossible for us 
now to know, as it is for us to be assured, that the books in 
which the account is related, were written bj the persons 
whose names they bear; the best surviving evidence we now 
have respecting this affair is the Jews. They are regularly 
descended from the people who lived in the time this resur- 
rection and ascension is said to have happened, and they 
say, it is not true. It has long appeared to me a strange in- 
consistency to cite the Jews as a proof of the truth of the 
story. It is just the same as if a man were to say, I will 
prove the truth of what I have told you by producing the 
people who say it is false. 

That such a person as Jesus Christ existed, and that he 
was crucified, which was the mode of execution at that day, 
are historical relations strictly within the limits of proba- 
bility. He preached most excellent morality, ana the 
equality of man; but he preached also against the corruptions 
and avarice of the Jewish priests, and this brought upon him 
the hatred and vengeance of the whole order of priesthood. 
The accusation which those priests brought against him was 
that of i^dition and conspiracy against me Roman govem- 
wm^if t^ iflach the Jews were then sabjeol and tr&it«if ; 



L] THB A&m OF KBiJOH. 11 

ftod it 18 not improbable that the Roman goremment miffht 
have some secret apprehensions of the effects of his dootnne 
as well as the Jewish priests; neither is it improbable that 
Jeans Christ had in contemplation the delivery of the Jewish 
nation from the bondage of the Romans. Between the two, 
however, this virtuous reformer and revolutionist lost his 
lif«. 

It is upon this plain narrative of faota, together with 
another case I am going to mention, that the Christian 
Mythologists, calling themselves the Christian Church, have 
erected their fable, which, for absurdity and extravagance, is 
not exceeded by anything that is to be found in the mythol- 
ogy of the ancients. 

The ancient Mythologists tell us that the race of Giants 
made war against Jupiter, and that one of them threw a 
hundred rocks against him at one throw; that Jupiter 
defeated him with thunder, and confined him afterwards 
under Mount Etna, and that every time the Giant turns him- 
self. Mount Etna belches fire. 

It is here easy to see that the oiroumstanoe of the mount- 
ain, that of its being a volcano, suggested the idea of the 
fable; and that the fable is made to fit and wind itself up 
with that circumstance. 

The Christian Mythologists tells us, that their Satan made 
war against the Almighty, who defeated him, and confined 
him afterwards, not under a mountain, but in a pit. It is 
here easy to see that the first fable suggested the idea of the 
second; for the fable of Jupiter and the Giants was told 
many hundred years before that of Satan. 

Thus far the ancient and the Christian Mythologists differ 
very little firom each other. But the latter have contrived 
to carry the matter much further. They have contrived to 
connect the fabulous part of the stoir of Jesus Christ with 
ihe fable originating from Mount Etna; and, in order to 
make all the parts of the story tie together, they have taken 
to their aid tne traditirns of the Jews; for the Christian my- 
thology is made up partly from the ancient mythology, aad 
partly from the Jewish traditions. 

The Christian Mythologists after having confined Sataa 
in a pit, were obliged to let him out again to bring on ^mi 
•eouel of the fable. He is then introduced into ihe Garden 
^^exi in tbe ihape of a snake or a serpent, And isi thai 



It nn AGS or bmamom, {taxt i. 

•hape he enters into familiar conversation with Eve, who if 
no way surprised to hear a snake talk; and the issue of this 
tete-^-tet^ is, that he persuades her to eat an apple, and the 
eating of that apple oamns ^ mankind. 

After ffiving Satan this tilumph over the whole creation, 
cxie would have supposed that the churoh Mjthologists would 
have been kind enough to send him back to the pit ; or, if 
thej had not done this, that they would have put a mountain 
npon him, (for they say that their faith can remove a mount- 
ain,) or have put him under a mountain, as the former Mythol- 
ogists had oone, to prevent his getting again among the 
women and doing more mischief. But instead of this, they 
leave him at large, without even obliging him to give his 
parole — ^the secret of which is, that they could not do with- 
out him ; and after being at the trouble of making him, they 
bribed him to stay. They promised him all the Jews, all 
the Turks by anticipation, nine-tenths of the world besides, 
and Mahomet into the bargain. After this, who can doubt 
the bountifulness of the Christian mythology ? 

Having thus made an insurrection and a batti^ in 
Heaven, in which none of the combatants could be either 
killed or wounded — put Satan into the pit— let him out 
again — giving him a triumph over the whole creation — 
damned all mankind by the eating of an apple, these Chris- 
tian Mythologists bring the two ends of their fable together. 
They represent this virtuous and amiable man, Jesus Christ, 
to be at once both God and Man, and also the Son of God, 
celestially begotton, on purpose to be sacrificed, because they 
gay that Eve in her longing had eaten an apple. 

Putting aside everything that might excite laughter by 
its absurdity, or detestation by its profaneness, and confining 
ourselves merely to an examination of the parts, it is impos- 
sible to conceive a story more derogatory to the Almighty, 
more inconsistent with his wisdom, m<»*d contradictory to 
his power, than this story is* 

In order to make for it a foundation to rise upon, the in- 
ventors were under the necessilry of givii^ to the being, 
whom they call Satan, a power equally as great, if not 
greater than they attribute to the Almighty. They have 
not only given hun the power of liberating himself from the 
j^t, after what they call his fall, but they have made that 
power inorecM afterwards to infinity. Before thla fill ikaf 



l] VMM A*S OW XSAflOS. 

r ep reacnt him ovlj tm an an^ of limited existence, m they 
repreient the rett. After his fall, he becomes, by their ao- 
eoont, omnipresent. He exists everyi'rhere, and at the same 
time. He occupies the whole immensi^ of space. 

Not content with this deification of &itan, they represent 
him as defeating, by stratagem, in the shape of an animal of 
the creation, aU the power and wisdom of the Almighty. 
They represent him as having compelled the Almighty to the 
direct necessity/ either of surrendering the whole of the crea- 
tion to the goremment and soyereignty of this Satan, cn* of 
capitulating for its redemption by coming down upcsi earth 
and exhibitmg himself upon a cross in the shape of a man. 

Had the inventors of this story told it the contrary way, 
that is, had they represented the Almighty as compelling 
Satan to exhibit Mmseff on a cross, in the shape of a snake, 
as a punishment for his new transgression, the story woola 
have been less absurd — ^less contradictory. But, instead of 
this, they make the transgressor triumpn, and the Almightj 
fall. 

That many good men have believed this strange fable, and 
Hved very good lives under that belief (for credulity is not a 
oiime) is what I have no doubt of. In the first place, they 
were educated to believe it, and they would have believed 
anything else in the same manner. There are also many 
who have been to enthusiastically enraptured by what they 
conceived to be the infinite love of God to man, in making a 
sacrifice of himself, that the vehemence of the idea has wr- 
bidden and deterred them from examining into the absurdity 
and profaneness of the storj. The more unnatural anythins 
is, the more is it capable of becoming the object of dismiu 
admiration. 

But if objects for gratitude and admiration are our desire, 
do they not present themselves every hour to our eyes? Do 
we not see a fair creation prepared to receive us the instant 
we are bom — a world furnished to our hands, that cost us 
notliing? Is It we that light up the sun, that pour down the 
rain, and fill tiie earth with abundance? Whether we sleep 
or wake, the vast machinery of the universe still goes on. 
Are these tMiupi, and the blessings they indicate in future, 
nothing to lasr C^ oar gross &elingt be excited by no 
other tubjeoti Hhui tragedy and suicide? Or is the gloomy 
pride of man become so intolerable, that nothing oan flatter 
k h«l A M«iiM «£ tiM OrMterl 



14 VBM Aam mr wMAaom. [fast s. 

I know that tlus bold iiiTestigfttioii will ftlarra many, but 
it would be payiiiff too great a oompliment to their oredxiUty 
to f<»'bear it on tnat aooount; the times and the subjeot 
deznaud it to be done. The sospioion that the theorj of 
what ia called the Christian ohuroh is fabulous, is becoming 
y&ry extensiye in all countries; and it will be a consolatioa 
to men staggering under that suspicion, and doubting what 
to believe and what to disbelieve, to see the subject freely 
investigated. I therefore pai» cm to an examination of the 
books called the Old and New Testament 

These books, beginning with Grenesis and ending with 
Revelation (which, by the bye, is a book of riddles that 
requires a revelation to explain it), are, we are told, the word 
of Qod. It is, therefore, proper for us to know who told vm 
so, that we may know vniat credit to give to the report. 
The answer to this aeestion is, that nobody can tell, except 
th&t we tell one another so. The case historically appears to 
be as follows: 

When the church Mythologists established their system, 
they collected all the writings they could find, and muiaged 
them as they pleased. It is a matter altogether of uncer- 
tainty to us whether such of the writings as now appear 
under the name of the Old and New Testament, are in the 
§ame state in which those collectors say they found them, or 
whether they added, altered, abridged, or dressed them np. 

Be this as it may, they decided hjvote which of the bo(MC8 
out of the collection they had made, should be the woso of 
©o», and which should not. They rejected several; they 
voted others to be doubtful, such as the books called the 
Apocrypha; and those books which had a majority of votea, 
were voted to be the word of Grod. Had they voted other- 
wise, all the people, since calling themselves Christians, had 
believed otherwise — for the belief of the one comes from the 
vote of the other. Who the people were that did all this, 
we know nothing of, they called memselves by the general 
niune of the Church; and this is all we know o£ the matter. 

As we have no o^er external evidence or authority £or 
believing these books to be the word of God, than what I 
have mentioned, which ia no evidence or authority at all, I 
dome, in the next place, to examine the internal evideniot 
eontalned in the books themselves. 

la tiM lonMr part of this Sasay, I hava (^ok» ^ ivvcbr 



tioa.— I now proceed further with that nibjeeti for the pm 
poee of ftpplying it to the books in question. 

Relevation is a communioation of something, which the 
person, to whom that thing is reyealed, did not know before. 
Ffx if I haye done a thing, or seen it done, it needs nt^ 
reyelation to tell me I have done it, or seen it, nor to enable 
me to tell it, or to write it. 

Rerelation, therefore, cannot be applied to anything don^ 
upon earth, of which man is himself the actor or the witness; 
and consequently all the historical and anecdotal part of the 
Bible, which is almost the whole of it, is not within the 
meaning and compass of the word revelation, and, therefore, 
is not the word oi GK>d. 

When Samson ran off with the gate-posts of Gaza, if he 
ey-er did so, (and whether he did or not is nothing to us,) or 
when he yisited his Delilah, or caught his foxes, or did anr 
thing else, what has rey elation to do with these things? u 
they were facts, he could tell them himself; or his secretary, 
if he kept one, could write them, if they were worth either 
telling or writing; and if they were fictions rey elation could 
not make them true; uid whether true or not, we are neithw 
the better nor the wiser for knowing them. When we con- 
template the immensity of that Bein^, who directs and gov- 
erns the incomprehensible whole, oi which the utmost icen 
ef human sight can discover but a part, we ought to feel 
shame at calfing such paltry stories the word of God. 

As to the account of the Creation, with which Uie bode 
of Genesis op^os, it has all the appearance of being a tradi- 
tion whioh the Israelites had among them before they came 
into Egypt; and after their departure from that countrjr, 
tl^ put It at the head of their history, without telling (as it 
is most probable) that they did not know how they came by 
it The manner m which ^e account opens, shows it to be 
traditionary. It b^ins abruptly : it is nobody that speaks ; 
't is ndt>ody that hears ; it is addressed to nobody ; it has 
jieither first, seoond, or third person ; it has every criterion 
of b^ng a tradition; it has no voucher. Moses does not take 
it upon himself by introdudng it with the formality that he 
laes on other occasicms, Mich as tiiat of saying, i%4 l/&r4 
9p€tke uni0 Mo8€s^ saying. 

Why it has been csJled ihe Mosaic account of tiie Grea* 
HoBft I am al a lotts to ecmoeive. Moses, I beiieve, waa too 



1$ nOE Aax OF BEJlSOV. [^^^*^ i 

good a judge of tuoli subjects to put his name to tkat ao- 
oount. He had been educated among the Egyptiana, wIm 
were a people as well skilled in soience, and partioularlj in 
aatronomy, as anjr pecmle of their day ; and tne silence and 
caution that Moees obsenres, in not authenticating the ao- 
count, is a good negatiye evidence that he neither told it nor 
believed it. — ^The case is, that every nation of people has 
been world-makers, and the Israelites had as much right to 
set up the trade of world-making as any of the rest ; and as 
Moses was not an Israelite, he might not choose to oontra- 
diet the tradition. The account, however, is harmless ; and 
this is more than can be said of many other parts of the 
Bible. 

Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous 
debaucheries, the orael and tortuous executiona, the unre- 
lenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible 
is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the 
word of a demon than the word of Grod. It is a history of 
wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize man- 
kind ; and, for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest 
eveiything that is cruel. 

We scarcely meet with anything, a few phrases excepted, 
but what deserves either our abhorrence or our eontempt, 
till we come to the miscellaneous parts of the Bible. In tne 
anonymous publications, the Psalms, and the Book of Job, 
more particularly in the latter, we find a g^eat deal of ele* 
rated sentiment reverentially expressed of the power and 
benignity of the Almighty ; but they stand on no higher 
rank than many other compositions on similar subjects, as 
well before that time as snce. 

The Proverbs which are said to be Solomon's, though most 
brobablv a collection (because thev discover a knowledge of 
life, which his situation excluded nim from knowing) are an 
instructive table of ethics. They are inferior in keenness 
to the proverbs of the Spaniards, and not more wise and eoo- 
nomical than those of the American Franklin. 

All the remaining parts of the Bible, generally known by 

the name of the Prophets, are the works of the Jewish poets 

and itinerant preacners, who mixed poetry, anecdote, and 

devotion together — ^and those works still retain the air and 

ityle of poetry, though in translation.* 

*As tt«i« AM nany readwi who Ao not m« that a eooipodtlaBi !■ PMtry. 
M> te^ikjrma. tt te te tbdr lid)»nB«tioa that I adA Ikto Mto. 
9Miqr MMlitf iriMiit% la tw» tUB|!»--teag«v oai 



THB A»m OX BXABOH. 17 

There is not, throughout the whole book oalled the Bible, 
vaj word that desonbes to ub what we call a poet, nor any 
word that describes what we call poetry. The case is, that 
the word prqphety to which latter times hare aflBxed a new 
idea, was the Bible word for poet, and the word prophesying 
meant the art of making poetry. It also meant the art of 
playing poetiy to a tune upon any instrument of music. 

We read of prophesying with pipes, tabrets, and horns — 
of prophesying with harps, witn psalteries, with cymbals, 
and with every other instrument of music then in fashion. 
Were we now to speak of prophesying with a fiddle, or with 
a pipe and tabor, tne expression would have no meaning, or 
would appear ridiculous, and to some people contemptuous, 
because we have changed the meaning of the word. 

We are told of Saul being among tne prophets^ and also 
chat he prophesied ; but we are not told what ^A«yjpr<)pA«««l, 
nor what he prophesied. The case is, there was nothing to 
tell ; for these prophets were a company of musicians and 
poets, and Saul joined in the concert, and this was called 
proph^ying. 

The account given of this affair in the book called 
Samuel, is, that Saul met a company of prophets ; a whole 
company of them I coming down with a psaltery, a tabret, a 
pipe, and a harp, and that they prophesied, and that he 
prophesied with them. But it appears afterwards, that Saul 
prophesied badly ; that is, performed his part badly ; for it 

position of poetry differs from that of prose In the manner of mixing long and 
short syllablee together. Take a long syllable out of a line of poetry, and put a 
short one In the room of it, or pnt a long syllable where a short one should be, 
WQdthat line will lose its poetical harmony. It will have an effect upon the line 
like that of misplacing a note in a song. 

The imagery ili these booke^ called the prophets, appertains altogether to »oe- 
irj. It is flctltious, and ofLen extravagant, and not admissible in any other Kind 
of writing than poetry. 

To show that these writings are composed in poetical numbers, I will take ten 
^vllablea, as they stand in the book, and make a line of the same number of sylla- 
Nea, (heroic measure) that shall rhyme with the last word. It will then be »eeo 
that tne eompositi(» of these books Is poetical measure. The instance I shaO 
prodvee !■ fh>m Isaiah :— 

•* Hear, ye heavens^ and giv€ Mr 4arih/** 
71« God himself that oalls attention forth. 

Another inetaaee I shall quote is from the moumftil Jeremiah, to which I riuK 
tid two other liiies, for the purpose of earrylng out tiie figure, aad akowtas *e 
of thepoet 

** 0, thai min4 h*ad v>*r« watert <%nd m<fM tffwf ** 
Were ftmntelBs flowing like the liquid sklea ; 
wooid I idve the mighty flood r e ioaee, 
f dMBgefcrtto hoaumiMe. 



k said, tiiati aa **0oU 9ipMifnm (hd*** oune apoo Saul, 
fiid he pfophesidd. 

Novr, were there no other passage in the book called the 
Bible, than this, to demonstrate to us that we have lost the 
original meaning of the word prophesy^ and substituted 
another meaning in its place, this alone would be sufficient ; 
for it is impossible to use and apply the word prophesy^ in 
the place it is here used and applied, if we give to it the 
Bense which latter times have affixed to it. The manner in 
which it is here used strips it of all religious meaning, and 
shows that a man might then be a prophet, or he might 
prophesy^ as he may now be a poet or musician, without any 
regard to the morality or immorality of his character. The 
word was originally a term of science, promiscuously applied 
to poetry and to music, and not restricted to any suojeot 
upon which poetry and music might be exercised. 

Deborah and Barak are called prophets, not because they 
predicted anything, but because they composed the poem <» 
song that bears their name, in celebration of an act already 
done. David is ranked among the prophets, for he waa a 
musician, and was also reputed to be (though perhaps verjf 
erroneously) the author of the Psalms. But Abraham, Isaac, 
and Jacob are not called prophets ; it does not appear from 
any accounts we have, that they could either sing, plaj 
music, or make poetry. 

We are told of the greater and the lesser prophets 
They might as well tell us of the greater and the lessei 
God ; for there cannot be degrees in prophesying consistently 
with its modem sense. — But there are degrees in poetry, and 
therefore the phrase is reconcilable to the case, when we 
understand by it the greater and the lesser poets. 

It is altogether unnecessary, after this, to offer any 
observations upon what those men, styled prophets, have 
written. The axe goes at once to the root, by showing that 
the original meaning of the word has been mistaken, and 
consequently all the inferences that have been drawn from 
those books, the devotional respect that has been paid to 
them, and the labored commentaries that have been written 
apon them, under that mistaken meaning, are not worth 

* As those mefi whaeall themselTes divines and commenttttors. are rerj fond of 
pnczllQj; one another, I leave them to contest the meaning of the first part of th« 
phrase, thAt of an evil $pirU qf Qod. I kaep to my tasS—kaup to the uoasiaf 
9t th« w«Mr4 (NrophMy. 



disputinff about. In many things, however, the writrngi fd 
the Jewish poets deserre a better fate than that of being 
bound up, as thej are now, with the trash that aooompanies 
them, under the abused name of the word of God. 

If we permit ourselves to conceive right ideas of things, 
we must necessarily affix the idea, not omy of unchangeablo- 
ness, but of the utter impossibility of any change taking 
plaoe, by any means or accident whatever, in that which we 
would honor with the name of the word of God ; and there- 
fore the word of Gk>d cannot exist in any written or human 
language. 

The continually progressive change to which the meaning 
of words is subject, the want of an universal language whioa 
renders translation necessair, the errors to which translaticMis 
are again subject, the mistates of copyists and printers, to- 
gether with tne possibility of willful alteration, are of them- 
selves evidences that the human language, whether in ^eeoh 
or in print, cannot be the vehicle of the word of God. The 
word of God exists in something else. 

Did the book called the Bible, excel in purity of ideas and 
expression all the books now extant in the world, I would 
not take it for my rule of faith, as being the word of God, 
because the possibility would nevertheless exist of my being 
imposed upon. But when I see throughout the greater part 
of this book, scarcely anything but a history of the grossest 
vices, and a collection of the most paltry and contemptible 
tales, I cannot dishonor my Creator by calling it by his 
name. 

Thus much for the Bible; I now go on to the book called 
die yew Testament! that is, the new will, as if there could 
be two wills of the Creator. 

Had it been the object or the intention of Jesus Christ to 
i^tablish a new religion, he would undoubtedly have writt^i 
the system himself, or procured it to be wHUen in his lifetime. 
But there is no publication extant authenticated with his 
name. All the books called the New Testament were written 
after his death. He was a Jew by birth and by p>rofes8ion; 
and he was the son of God in like manner that every odier 
person is — for the Creator is the Father of All. 

The first four books, called Matthew, Mark, Luke, and 
John, do not ^ve a history of the life of J»»us Christ, but 
only detaohod aneodotes of him. It appears from thsie boolei 



nn i«B or bxabov. {taxt l 

that tJie whol« tuBO of hit being a preacher was not more 
than eighteen months; and it was onlj during this short time 
that those men became acquainted with him. They make 
mention of him at the age of twelve years, sitting, they say, 
among the Jewish doctors, asking and answering theiji ques- 
tiona. As this was sereral years before their acquaintance 
witii him began, it is most prc^able they had this anecdote 
from his parents. From this time there is no account of him 
for about sixteen years. Where he lived, or how he employed 
himself during this interval, is not known. Most probably he 
was working at his father's trade, which was that of a car- 
penter. It does not appear that he had any school education, 
and the probability is, that he could not write, for his parents 
were extremely poor, as appears from their not being able to 
pay for a bed when he was bom. 

It is somewhat curious that the tiiree persons whose names 
are the most universally recorded, were of very obscure 
parentage. Moses was a foundling; Jesus Christ was bom 
m a stable; and Mahomet was a mule driver. The first and 
the last of these men were founders of different systems of 
religion; but Jesus Christ founded no new system. Recalled 
men to the practice of moral virtues, and tne belief of one 
God. The great trait in his character is philanthropy. 

The manner in which he was apprehended, shows that he 
was not much known at that time; audit shows, also, that the 
meetings he then held with his followers were in secret; and 
ikai he had given over or suspended preaching publicly. 
Judas could nootherwise betray him than by giving informa- 
tion where he was and pointing him out to toe officers that 
went to irrest him; and the reason for employing and paying 
Judas to do this could arise only from the cause already 
mentioned, that of hia not being much known, and living 
ooncealed. 

The id«*A of his concealment, not only agrees very ill with 
his reputed divinity, but associates with it something of pusil- 
lanimity; and his being betrayed, or in other words, his being 
apprehended, on the information of one of his followers, 
snows that he did not intend to be apprehended, and conse- 
quently that he did not intend to be crucified. 

The Christian Mvthologists tell us, that Christ died for 
the sins of the world, and that he came on purpose to die. 
Would it not then, haT« been the same if ha had died of a 



TAMt l] TKS ▲»■ OF BSAiOM. tl 

ferer, or of the small pox, of old age, or of anjthing eliaf 

The decl^atorj Bentenoe whioh, they say, was passed upon 

Adam, in case he eat of the apple, was not, that thou skalt 

surely he crucified^ but^ thou shalt surely <?w-^the sentenoe 

of death, and not the manner of dying. Crucifixion, there- 
fore, or any other particular manner of dying, made no part 
of the sentence that Adam was to suffer, and consequently, 
even upon their own tactics, it could make no part of the 
sentence that Christ was to suffer in the room of Adam. A 
fever would have done as well as a oross, if there was any 
occasion for either. 

The sentence of death, whioh they tell us, was thus 
passed upon Adam, must either have meant dying naturally, 
that is, ceasing to live, or have meant what those Mytholo- 
gists call danmation; and consequently, the act of dying on 
the part of Jesus Christ, must, according to their system, 
apply as a prevention to one or other of these two things 
happening to Adam and to us. 

That it does not prevent our dying is evident, because we 
all die; and if their accounts of longevity be true, men dio 
faster since the crucifixion than before; and with respect to 
the second explanation, (including with it the ncUural death 
of Jesus Chnst as a substitute for the eternal death or 
damnation of all mankind,) it is impertinently representin|^ 
the Creator as coming off, or revoking the sentence, by a pun 
or a quibble upon the word death. That manufacturer of 
quibbles, St. Paul, if he wrote the books that bear his name, 
has helped this quibble on by making another quibble upoa 
the word Adam. He makes there to be two Adams; th# 
one who sins in fact, and suffers, by proxy; the other who 
sins by proxy, and suffers in fact. A religion thus inter- 
larded with quibble, subterfuge, and pun, has a tendency to 
instruct its professors in the practice of these arts. They 
acquire the habit without beinff aware of the cause. 

If Jesus Christ was the being which those Mythologiats 
tell us he was, and that he came into this world to suffer^ 
which is a word they sometimes use instead of to die^ the 
only real suffering he could have endured, would have been 
U^ live. His existence here was a stat« of exilement <w 
transportation from Heaven, and the way back to his original 
country was to die. — In fine, everything m this strange system 
it the revefse ot wh&t it pretends to be. It ii the' reverse at 



tmth^ and I become so tired of examining i&to its ineonsis- 
teaoies and absurdities, that I hasten to the ocmolusion of it, 
m (M'der to proo^d to something better. 

Ebw much, or what parts of the books oalled the New 
Testament, were written by the persons whose names they 
bear, is what we can know nothing o£^ neither are we certain 
in what language they were originally written. The matters 
they now contain may be classed under two heads — anecdote 
and epistolary correspondence. 

The four books already mentioned, Matthew, Mark, Luke 
and John, are altogether anecdotal. They relate events after 
they had taken place. They tell what Jesus Christ did and 
said, and what others did and said to him; and in several 
instances they relate the same event differently. Revela- 
tion is necessarily out of the question with respect to those 
books; not only because of the disagreement of the writers, 
but because revelation cannot be applied to the relating of 
facts by the person who saw them done, nor to the relating 
or recording of any discourse or conversation by those who 
heard it. The book called the Acts of the Apostles (an 
anonymous work) belongs also to the anecdotal part. 

All the other parts of the New Testament, except the book 
of enigmas, called the Revelations, are a collection of letters 
under the name of epistles; and the forgery of letters has 
been such a common practice in the world, that the proba- 
bility ia at least equal, whether they are genuine or K>rged. 
One thing, however, is much less equivocal, which ii, that 
out of the matters contained in those books, together with 
the assistance of some old stories, the church has set up a 
system of religion very contradictory to the character of the 
person whose name it bears. It has set up a religion of 
pomp and of revenue, in pretended imitation of a person 
whose life was humility and poverty. 

The invention of purgatory, and of the releasing of souls 
therefrom, by prayers, bought of the church witn money; 
die selling of pardons, dispensations and indulgences, are 
revenue laws, without bearing that name or carrying that 
appearance. But the case nevertheless is, that those things 
derive their origin from tht> paroxysm of the crucifixion and 
the theory deduced therefrom, which was, that one person 
could stand in the place of another, and could perform meri- 
torious seryioet for him. The probability, therefore, if, that 



VAST I. j nn AOB OV SXAKOr. it 

the whole theory or dootrine of what is called the redemp- 
tion (which is said to have been accomplished by the act of 
oae person in the room of anoUier^ was originally fabricated 
on purpose to bring forward and Duild all those secondary 
and pecuniary redemptions upon; and that the passages in 
the books upon which the idea dfj" theory of redemption is 
built, have been manufactured and fabricated for that pur- 
pose. Why are we to give this church credit, when she 
tells us that those books are genuine in every part, any 
more than we give her credit for everything else she has told 
us; or for the miracles she says she has performed? That 
she could fabricate writings is certain, because she could 
write; and the composition of the writings in question, is of 
that kind that anybody might do it; and that she did fabri- 
cate them is not more inconsistent with probability, thaa 
that she could tell us, as she has done, that she could and did 
work miracles. 

Since, then, no external evidence can, at this long distance 
of time, be produced to prove whether the church fabricated 
the doctrines called redemption or not, (for such evidence, 
whether for or against, would be subject to the same sus- 
picion of being fabricated,) the case can only be referred to 
the internal evidence which the thing carries within itself; 
and this affords a very strong presumption of its being a 
fabrication. For the internal evidence is, that the theory or 
doctrine of redemption has for its basis an idea of pecumaiy 
justice, and not that of moral justice. 

If I owe a person money, and cannot pay him, and h» 
threatens to put me in prison, another person can take the 
debt upon himself, and pay it for me; but if I have com- 
mitted a crime, every circumstance of the case is changed; 
moral justice cannot take the innocent for the guilty, even 
if the innocent would offer itself. To suppose justice to do 
this, is to destroy the principle of its existence, which is the 
thing itself; it is then no longer justice; it is indiscriminate 
revenffe. 

This single reflection will show that the doctrine of 
redemption is founded on a mere pecuniary idea, correspond- 
ing to that of a debt, which anotner person might pay; and 
as this pecuniary idea corresponds again with the system of 
second redemptions, obtainea through the means of money 
given to the ohurch for pardons, the probability la, that wb 



t4 na iiiB OT vMAios. 

same persons fabricated both one and the other of those 
theories, and that, in truth, there is no such thing as 
redemption; that it is fabulous, and that man stands in the 
same relative condition with his Maker he ever did stand, 
since man existed, and that it is his greatest consolation to 
think so. 

Let him believe this, and he will live more consistently 
and morally, than by any other system; it is by his being 
taught to contemplate himself as an out-law, as an out-cast, 
as a beggar, as a mumper, as one thrown, as it were, on a 
dunghill, at an immense distance from his Creator, and who 
must make his approaches by creeping and cringing to 
intermediate beings, that he conceives either a contemptuous 
disregard for everything under the name of religion, or 
becomes indifferent, or turns what he calls, devout. In the 
latter case, he consumes his life in grief, or the affectation 
of it; his prayers are reproaches; his humility is ingratitude; 
he calls himself a worm, uid the fertile earth a dunghill; 
and all the blessings of life by the thankless name of vani.« 
ties; he despises the choicest gift of God to man — the onrr 
OF bsason; and having endeavored to force upon himself the 
belief of a system against which reason revolts, he un- 
grratefully calls it human reason^ as if man could give reason 
to himself. 

Yet, with all this strange appearance of humility, and 
this contempt for human reason, he ventures into the boldest 
presumptions; .he finds fault with everything; his selfish- 
ness is never satisfied; his ingratitude is never at an end. 
He takes on himself to direct the Almighty what to do, even 
in the government of the universe; he prays dictatoriallv> 
when it is sunshine he prays for rain, and when it is rain, ne 
prays for sunshine; he follows the same idea in every- 
thing that he prays for; for what is the amount of all Ins 
prayers, but an attempt to make the Almighty change his 
mind, and act otherwise than he does? It is as if he were 
to say — thou knowest not so well as I. 

But some perhaps will say — Are we to have no word of 
God — ^no revelation? I answer, Yes: there is a wordj of 
God; there is a revelation. 

The word of God is the creation we behold: And it 
, is in this teord, which no human invention o&n oounterftit Of 
titer, that God speaketh universally to man. 



PAST 1,] THl Asm OF BKASOV. 21 

Human language is local and changeable, and ii, therefore, 
incapable of being used as the means of unchangeable 
and universal information. The idea that God sent Jesua 
Christ to publish, as they say, the glad tidings to all nations, 
from one end of the earth to the other, is consistent only 
with the ignorance of those who knew nothing of the extent 
of the world, and ^who believed, as those world-saviours 
believed, and continued to believe, for several centuries 
(and that in contradiction to the discoveries of philosophers 
and the experience of navigators), that the earth was flat 
like a trencher, and that a man might walk to the end 
of it. 

But how was Jesus Christ to make anything known to 
all nations? He could speak *b.ut one language, which was 
Hebrew; and there are in the world several hundred 
languages. Scarcely any two nations speak the same lan- 
guage, or understand each other; and as to translations, 
every man who knows anything of languages, knows that it 
was impossible to translate from one language to another, 
not only without not losing a great part of the original, but 
frequently of mistaking the sense; and besides all this, the 
art of printing was wholly unknown at the time Chnsi 
lived. 

It is always necessary that the means that are to accom- 
plish an\ end, be equal to the accomplishment of that end, or 
the end cannot be accomplished. It is in this, that the 
difference between finite and infiniee power and wisdom dis- 
covers itself. Man frequently fails in accomplishing his 
ends, from a natural inability of the power to the purpose; 
and frequently from the want of 'wisdom to apply power 
properly. But ' it is impossible for infinite power and 
wisdom to fail as man faileth. The means it useth are 
always equal to the end; but human language, more esp)e- 
cially as there is not an universal language, is incapable of 
being used as an universal means of unchangeable and 
uniform information, and therefore it is not the means that 
God useth in manifesting himself universally to man. 

It is only in the cksation that all our ideas, and concep- 
tions of a word of God can unite. The -creation speaketh 
an universal language, independently of human speech or 
human language, multiplied and various as they be. It if 
ts ever-existing (»3|^iial, which .every mazi oan read. It 



M TBM A»M or BHAIOS. [TAXt L 

(Mimot be forged ; it cannot be eonnterfeited ; it cannot be 
loft ; it cannot be altered ; it cannot be suppressed. It does 
not depend upon the will of man whether it shall be pub> 
lished or not; it publishes itself from one end of the earth to the 
other. It preaches to all nations and to all worlds ; and this 
teord of God reyeals to man all that is necessary for man to 
know of God. 

Do we want to contemplate his power ? We see it in 
the imohangeable order bj which the incomprehensible 
whole is governed. Do we want to contemplate his mimifi- 
cence ? yVc see in the abundance with wnich he fills the 
earth. Do we want to contemplate his mercy ? We see it 
in his not withholding that abundance even from the un- 
thankful. In fine, do we want to know what God is? 
Search not the book called the Scripture, which any humua 
hand might make, but the Scripture called the Creation. 

The only idea man can afi&x to the name of God, is tiiat 
of a firBt causej the cause of all things. And, incomprehen- 
sible and difficult as it is for a man to conceive what a first 
cause is, he arrives at the belief of it, from the tenfold 
greater difficulty of disbelieving it. It is difficult beyond 
description to conceive that space can have no end; but it is 
more difficult to conceive an end. It is difficult beyond the 
power of man to conceive an eternal duration of what we 
call time; but it is more impossible to conceive a time when 
there shall be no time. 

In like manner of reasoning, everything we behold 
carries in itself the internal evidence that it did not make 
itself. Every man is an evidence to himself, that he did not 
make himself; neither could his father make himself, nor his 
grandfather, nor any of his race; neither could any tree, 
plant, or animal make itself; and it is the conviction arising 
from this evidence, that carries us on, as it were, by neces- 
sity, to the belief of a first cause eternally existing, of a 
nature totally different to any material existence we know 
of, and by the power of which all things exist; and this 
fint cause, man calls God. 

It is only by the exercise of reason, that man can dis- 
cover God. Take away that reason, and he would be in- 
capable of understanding anything; and in this case it 
would be just as consistent to read even the book called the 
Bible to a horse as to a man. How then is it that those 
p^opim pretoad to reject reason^ 



tiJMr I.] TBS AOB <Nr BMAflOV. IT 

Almost tlie onlj parts in the book called the Bible, that 
oonyey to us any idea of Grod, are some chapters in Job, 
and tne 19th Psalm; I recollect no other. Those parts are 
true deistical compositions; for they treat of tne Deity 
through his works. They take the book of Credtion as the 
word of God, they refer to no other book, and all the 
mferenoM they make are drawn from that volume. 

I insert in this place the 19th Psalm, as paraphrased 
Into English verse by Addison. I recollect not the prose, 
and where I write this I have not the opportunity of seeing 
H: 

Tbe upaeioTui firmament on hl|^ 

With ftU the blue etherial sky. 

And spangled heavens, a shining frttOM^ 

Their great original proclaim. 

The unwearied sun, from day to daj« 

Does his Creator's power display; 

And publishes to every land. 

The work of an Almignty hand. 

iSoon as the evening shades prevail. 

The moon takes np the wondrous \m% 

And nightly to the list'ning earth. 

Repeats the story of her birth; 

Whilst all the stars that 'round her ban. 

And all the planets, in their turn. 

Confirm the tidings as they roll, 

And spread the truth from pole to iMto. 

What though in solemn sUence all 

Move round this dark terrestrial bafl : 

What though no real voice, nor souno. 

Amidst their radiant orbs be foond. 

In reason's ear they all rejoice. 

And utter forth a glorious voice, 

Forever singing as they shine, 

Thb hand ibmx kadi ub is DiTxm. 

What more does man want to know, than that the hand 
or power that made these things is Divine, is Omnipotent? 
Let him believe this with the force it is impossible to repel, 
if he permits his reason to act, and his rule of moral life 
will follow of course. 

The allusions in Job have, all of them, the same tend- 
ency with this Psalm; that of deducing or proving a truth 
that would be otherwise unknown, from truths already 
known. 

I recollect not enoi:^h of t&e passages in Job to insert 
them correctly; but there is one occurs to me that is appli- 
eable to the subject I am speaking upon: ** Canst thou by 
searching find out Oodf Canst £oa find oat the Almi^ty 
to perfeotaonf* 



I kaow not how the printers hare pointed this passage, 
for I keep no Bible; but it contains two distinct questions 
that admit of distinct answers. 

B^t — Canst thou by searching find out God? Yes; 
because, in the first place, I know I did not make myself, 
and yet I have existence; and by searching into the nature 
of other things, I find that no other thing could make itself; 
and yet millions of other things exist; therefore it is, that 
I know, by positive conclusion resulting from this search, 
that there is a power superior to ail those things, and that 
power is God, 

Secondly — Canst tljou find out the Almighty to perfec- 
tion f No; not only because the power and wisdom He has 
manifested in the structure of the Creation that I behold is 
to me incomprehensible, but because even this manifestation, 
great as it is, is probably but a small display of that immen- 
sity of power and wisdom, by which millions of other worlds, 
to me invisible by their dis^ce, were created and continue 
to exist. 

It is evident that both of these questions are put to the 
reason of the person to whom they are supposed to have 
been addressed; and it is only by admitting the first ques- 
tion to be answered affirmatively, that the second could 
follow. It would have been unnecessary, and even absurd, 
to have put a second question, more difficult than the first, 
if the first question had been answered negatively. The 
two questions have different objects; the first refers to the 
existence of God, the second to his attributes; reason can 
discover the one, but it falls infinitely short in discovering 
the whole of the other. 

I recollect not a single passage in all the writings ascribed 
to the men called apostles, that convey any idea' of what 
God is. Those writings are chiefly controversial; and the 
subject they dwell upon, l^at of a man dying in agony on 
a cross, is better suited to the gloomy genius of a monk 
in a cell, by whom it is not impossible they were written, 
than to any man breathing the open air of the Creation. 
The only passage that occurs to me, that has any reference 
to the works of God^ by which only his power and wisdom 
can be known, is related to have been spoken by Jesui 
Christ, as a remedy against distrustful eare. *^ Behold the 
fiiiM ot th« field, tbey toil not, neithw do th«y fpia." T)um^ 



I 



fSAJffL] Tm AAM OW BSAiOV. 9§ 

hotrerer, ia far inferior to the allusions in Job and in the 
19th Psalm; but it is similar in idea, and the modesty of the 
imagery is coirespondent to the modesty of the man. 

As to the Christian system of faith, it appears to me as a 
■pecies of atheism — ^a sort of religious denial of God. 1 1 
professes to believe in a man rather than in God. It is a 
compound made up chiefly of manism with but little deism, 
and is as near to atheism as twilight is to darkness. 1 1 
introduces between man and his Maker an opaque body, 
which it calls a Redeemer, as the moon introduces her 
opaque self between the earth and the sun, and it produces 
by this means a religious or an irreligious eclipse of light 
It has put the whole orbit of reason into shade. 

The effect of this obscurity has been that of turning every 
thing upside down, and representing it in reverse; and 
unong the revolutions it has thus magically produced, it htm 
made a revolution in theology. 

That which is now called natural philosophy, embracing 
the whole circle of science, of which astronomy occupies 
the chief place, is the study of the works of God, and of the 
power and wisdom of God in hia works, and is the true 
theology. 

As to the theology that is now studied in its place, it is 
the study of human opinions and of human fancies concern- 
ing God. It is not the study of God himself in the works 
that he has made, but in the works or writings that man has 
made; and it is not among the least of the mischiefs that the 
Cliristian system has done to the world, that it has aban- 
doned the original and beautiful system of theology, like a 
beautiful innocent, to distress and reproach, to make room 
for the hag of superstition. 

The Book of Job and the 19th Psalm, which even the 
Church admits to be more ancient than the chronological 
order in which they stand in the book called the Bible, are 
theological orations conformable to the original system of 
theology. The internal evidence of those orations proves to 
a demonstration that the study and contemplation of the 
works of creation, and of the power and wisdom of God, re- 
vealed and manifested in those works, made a great part of 
the religious devotion of the times in which they were writ- 
ten ; and it was this devotional study and oontemplatioii 
tkat led to ik% disooveiy of the principles upon whion, whaM 



iO nn A^B OF SMAiOB. [tAJtt L 

ire now oalled soienoes, are established; and it is to the 
discovery of these principles that almost ail the arts that 
contribute to the convenience of human life, owe their exist- 
ence. Every principal art has some science for its parent, 
though the person who mechanically performs the work 
does not always, and but very seldom, perceive the connec- 
tion. 

It is a fraud of the Christian system to call the sciences 
human invention / it is only the application of them that is 
human. Every science has for its basis a system of princi- 
ples as fixed and unalterable as those by which the universe 
IS regulated and governed. Man cannot make principles; he 
can only discover them. 

For example — every person who looks at an almanac sees 
an account when an eclipse will take place, and he sees also 
that it never fails to take place according to the account 
there given. This shows that man is acquainted with the 
laws by which the heavenly bodies move. But it would be 
something worse than ignorance, were any Church on earth 
to say that those laws are a human invention. It would also 
be ignorance, or something worse, to say that the scientific 
principl-es,.by the aid of which man is enabled to calculate 
and foreknow when an eclipse will take place, are a human 
invention. Man cannot invent a thing that is eternal and 
immutable ; and the scientific principles he employs for this 
purpose must, and are, of necessity, as eternal and immuta- 
ble as the laws by which the heavenly bodies move, or they 
could not be used as they are to ascertain the time when, 
and the manner how, an eclipse will take place. 

The scientific principles that man employs to obtain the 
foreknowledge of an eclipse, or of any thmg else, relating to 
the motion of the heavenly bodies, are contained chiefly in 
that part of science which is called trigonometry, or the 
properties of a triangle, which, when apphed to the study of 
the heavenly bodies, is oalled Astronomy ; when applied to 
direct the course of a ship on the ocean, it is= called naviga- 
tion ; when applied to the construction of figures drawn by 
rule and compass, it is called geometry ; when applied to the 
construction of plans of edifices, it is called architecture ; 
when applied to the measurement of any portion of the sur- 
face of the earth, it is called land-surveying. In fine, it \a 
tkft lovl of toittnoe ; it is an eternal truth ; it ooatai&a tk« 



< 

mcUhematical demonstration of which man speaks, uid tb« 

extent of its uses is unknown. 

It may be said that man can make or draw a triangle, and 
therefore a triangle is a human invention. 

But the triangle, when drawn, is no other .than the image 
of the principle ; it is a delineation to the eye, and from 
thence to the mind, of a principle that would otherwise be 
imperceptible. The triangle does not make the principle, 
any more than a candle taken into a room that was dark, 
makes the chairs and tables that before were invisible. All 
the properties of a triangle exist independently of the figiirf,, 
and existed before any triangle was drawn or thought of h\ 
man. Man had no more to do in the formation of those prop 
ertiea or principles, than he had to do in making the laws bj 
which the heavenly bodies move ; and therefore the one must 
have the same Divine origin as the other. 

In the same manner as, it may be said, that man can make 
a triangle, so also, may it be said, he can make the mechani- 
cal instrument called a lever; but the principle, by which the 
lever acts, is a thing distinct from the mstrument, and would 
exist if the instrument did not ; it attaches itself to the in- 
strument after it is made ; the instrument, therefore, can act 
ncrotherwise thsCvit does act ; neither can all the efforts of 
human invention make it act otherwise — that which, in all 
such cases, man calls the effect^ is no other than the principle 
itself rendered perceptible to the senses. 

Since, then, man cannot make principles, from whence did 
he gain a knowledge of them, so to be able to apply them, 
not only to things on earth, but to ascertain the motion o* 
*^odies so immensely distant from him as all the neaveniv 
bodies are? From whence, I ask, could he gain that knowl- 
edge, but from the study of the true theology? 

It is the structure of the universe that has taught tKis 
knowledge to man. That structure is an ever-existing ex- 
hibition of every principle upon which every part of mathe- 
matical science is founded. The oflfspring of this science 
is mechanics ; for mechanics is no other than the principles 
of science applied practically. The man who proportions 
the several parts of a mill, uses the same scientific princi- 
ples, as if' he had the power of constructing an universe i 
but as he cannot give to matter that invisible agency, by 
wliioh ftll the component p*rta of the immense machiae of 



ii tmm AGS or bxasdv. [pajttl 

the uniyerf e hare influence upon eaob other, and act in 
motional unison together, without any apparent contact, 
and to which man has giyen the name of attraction, gravi- 
tation, and repulsion, he supplies the place of that agency 
by the humble imitation of teeth and cogs. All the parts 
of man's microcosm must visibly touch; but could he gain 
a knowledge of that agency, so as to be able to apply it in 
psactice, we might then say that another canonical book of 
the Word of God had -been discovered. 

If man could alter the properties of the lever, so also 
eould he alter the properties of the triangle; for a lever 
(taking that sort of lever which is called a ateel-yard, for 
the sake of explanation) forms when in motion, a triangle. 
The line it descends from, (one point of that line being in 
the fulcrum,) the line it descends to, and the cord of the 
arc, which the end of the lever describes in the air, are the 
three sides of a triangle. The other arm of the lever de- 
scribes also a triangle; and the corresponding sides of those 
two triangles, calculated scientifically, or measured geomet- 
rically; and also the sines, tangents, and secants generated 
from the angles, and geometrically measured, nave the 
same proportions to each other, as the different weights 
have that will balance each other on the lever, leaving the 
weight of the lever out of the case. 

It may also be said, that man can make a wheel and 
axis; that he can put wheels of diflferent magnitudes togeth- 
er, and produce a mill. Still the case comes back to the 
same point, which is, that he did not make the principle 
that gives the wheels those powers. That principle is as 
unalteruljle as in the former case, or rather it is the same 
principle under a diflferent appearance to the eye. 

The power that two wheels of diflferent magnitudes have 
upon each other, is in the same proportion as if the semi- 
diameter of the two wheels were joined together and made 
into that kind of lever I have described, suspended at the 
part where the semi-diameters join; for the two wheels, 
BcientificallT considered, are no other than the two (Hrcles 
generated by the motion of the compound lever. 

It is from the study of the true theology that all our 
knowledge of science is derived, and it is from that knowl- 
edge that all the arts have originated. 

Th* Ahcoighty Lecturer, by displaying the principles of 



fFASf L] 



TBCB AGB OX BSAflOlT. 



88 



loienoe in the structure of the universe, has invited man -to 
study and to imitation. It is as if He had said to the in- 
labitants of this globe, that we call ours, ** I have made an 
learth for man to dwell upon, and I have rendered the starry 
fheavens visible, to teach him science and the arts. He can 
low provide for his own comfort, ajnd lkakn from My muni^ 

[CENCB to all, to be KIND TO KACH OTHEB.*' 

Of what use is it, unless it be to teach man something, 
|that his eve is endowed with the power of beholding, to an 

icomprehensible distance, an immensity of worlds revolv- 

ig in the ocean of space ? Or , of what use is it that this 
[immensity of worlds is visible to man? What has man to 

lo with the Pleiades, with Orion, with Sirius, with the star 
[he calls the north star, with the moving orbs he has named 
iSatum, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury, if no uses are 
[to follow from their being visible? A less power of vision 
iwould have been sufficient for man, if the immensity he 

low possesses were given only to waste itself, as it were, on 
immense desert of space glittering with shows. 
I It is only by contemplating what he calls the starry 
meavens, as the book and school of science, that he discovers 
|iMiy use in their being visible to him, or any advantage 

^suiting from his immensity of vision. But when he con- 
Itemplates the subject in this light, he sees an additional 

lotive for saying, that nothing was made in vain/ for in 
lyain would be this power of vision if it taught man noth- 
* ig. 

As the Christian system of faith has made a revolution 
|in theology, so also has it made a revolution in the state of 
[learning. That which is now called learning, was not 
rleaming, originally. Learning does not consist, as the 
lechools now make it consist, in the knowledge of languages, 
[but in the knowledge of things to which language gives 
{names. 

The Greeks were » learned people, but learning with 
[them did not consist in speaking Greek, any more than in 
m Roman's speaking Latin, or a Frenchman's speaking 
tFrench, or an Englishman's speaking English. From 
[what we know of the Greeks, it does not appear that they 
[knew or studied any language but their own, and this was 
[one cause of their becoming so learned; it afforded them 
tiiii0 to t^pp^j ihemselyet to letter sta^M. TIm 



Tin AOH 09 KSAfiON [PAXt JL 

loliools of the Greeks were schools of soienoe and philoso- 
phy, and not of languages; and it h in the knowledge ol 
the things that science and philoB' ^hy teach, that learning 
consists. 

Almost all the scientific lear uug that now exists, came to 
us from the Greeks, or the pft<fple who spoke the Greek lan- 
guage. It, therefore, became r jecessary for the people of otner 
nations, who spoke a different language, that some among 
them should learn the Greek language, in order that the 
learning the Greeks had, might be made known in those 
nations, by translating the Greek books of science and phi- 
losophy into the mother tongue of each nation. 

Tne study, therefore, of tne Greek language (and in the 
same manner for the Latin) was no other than the drudgery 
business of a lin^ist ; and the language thus obtained, was 
ao other than the means, as it were the tools, employed to 
obtain the learnmg the Greeks had. It made no part of the 
learning itself ; and was so distinct from it, as to make it ex- 
ceedingly piobable that the persons who had studied Greek 
sufficiently to translate those works, such, for instance, as 
Euclid's Elements, did not understand any of the learning 
the works contained. 

At there is now nothing new to be learned from the dead 
languages, all the useful books being already translated, the 
languages are become useless, and the time expended in 
teaching and learning them is wasted. So far as the study 
of languages may contribute to the progress and communica- 
tion of knowledge, (for it has nothing to do with the creation 
of knowledge,) it is only in the livmg languages that new 
knowledge is to be found ; and certain it is, that, in general, 
a youth will learn more of a living language in one year, than 
of a dead language in seven ; and it is but seldom that the 
teacher knows much of it himself. The difficulty of learning 
the dead languages does not arise from any superior ab- 
struseness in the languages themselves, but in their being 
deady and the pronunciation entirely lost. It would be the 
same thing with any other language when it becomes dead. 
The best Greek linguist that now exists, does not under- 
stand Greek so well as a Grecian ploughman did, or a Gre- 
eian milkmaid; and the same for the Latin, compared with a 
, ploughman or milkmaid of the Romans ; it would therefore 
M adTantageoua to the state of learning to abolish th« study 



^AMt l] THS AOB oy BSA«OX. $6 

of the dead languages, and to make learning consist, iw it 
originally did, in scientific knowledge. 

The apology that is sometimes made for continuing to 
teach the dead languages is, that they are taught at a time, 
when a child is not capable of exerting any other mental 
faculty than that of memory ; but that is altogether errone- 
ous. The human mind has a natural disposition to scientific 
knowledge, and to the things connected with it. The first 
and favorite amusement of a child, even before it begins to 
play, is that of imitating the works of man. It builds houses 
witn cards or sticks; it navigates the little ocean of a bowl of 
water with a paper boat, or dams the stream of a gutter, and 
contrives something which it calls a mill ; and it interests 
itself in the fate of its works with a care that resembles 
affection. It afterwards goes to school, where its genius is 
killed by the barren study of a dead language, and the phi- 
losopher is lost in the linguist. 

But the apology that is now made for continuing to teach 
the dead languages, could not be the cause, at first, of cut- 
ting down learning to the narrow and humble sphere of 
linguistry ; the cause, therefore, must be sought for else- 
where. In all researches of this kind, the best evidence 
that can be produced, is the eternal evidence the thing 
carries with itself, and the evidence of circumstances that 
unites with it ; both of which, in this case, are not di^cult 
to be discovered. 

Putting, then, aside, as a matter of distinct consideration, 
the outrage ofifered to the moral justice of God, by suppos- 
ing him to make the innocent suffer for the guilty, and also 
the loose morality and low contrivance of supposing him to 
change himself into the shape of a man, in order to make aa 
excuse to himself for not executing his supposed sentence 
upon Adam ; putting, I say, those things aside as a matter 
of distinct consideration, it is certain that what is called the 
Christian system of faith, including in it the whimsical ac- 
count of the creation — the strange story of Eve — the snake 
and the apple — the ambiguous idea of a man-god — the cor- 
poral idea of the death of a god — the mythological idea of a 
family of gods, and the Christian system of arithmetic, that 
three are one, and one is three, are all irreconcilable, not only 
to the divine gift of reason, that God hath given to man, but 
to thd knowledge that man gains of the power and wisdom 



M TBI AOl 07 BSASOS. [TASft L 

of God, by the wd of the sciences, and by studying the stmo* 
ture of the universe that Gud has made. 

The 8etters-up therefore, and the advocates of the Chris- 
tum system of fajth, could not but foresee that the continu- 
ally progressive knowledge that man would gain, by the 
aid of science, of the power and wisdom of God, manifested 
is. the structure of the universe, and in all the works of 
Greation, would militate against, and call into question, the 
tiruth of their system of faith; and therefore it became 
neoessary to their purpose to .cut learning down to a size less 
dangerous to their project, and this they effected by restrict- 
ing the idea of learning to the dead study of dead languages. 

They not only rejected the study of science out of the 
Christian schools, but they peffeecuted it; and it is only 
within about the last two centuries that the study has been 
revived. So late as 1610,. Galileo, a Florentine, discovered 
and introduced the use of telescopes, and by applying them 
to observe the motions ^nd appearance of the heavenly 
bodies, a£forded additional means for ascertaining the true 
structure of the universe. Instead of being esteemed for 
those discoveries, he was sentenced to renounce them, or the 
opinions resulting from them, as a damnable heresy. And, 
prior to that time, Vigilius vras condemned to be burned for 
averting the antipodes, or in other words, that the earth 
was a globe, and habitable in every part where there was 
land; yet the truth of this is now too well known even to be 
told. 

If the belief of errors not morally bad did no mischief, it 
would make no part of the moral duty of man to oppose and 
remove them. There was no moral ill in believing the earth 
was flat like a trencher, any more than there was moral virtue 
in believing that it was round like a globe; neither was 
there any moral ill in believing that the Creator made no 
other world than this, any more than there was moral virtue ^ 
in believing that he made millions, and that the bifinity of j 
space is filled with worlds. But when a system of religion 
is made to grow out of a supposed system of creation that is 
nt>t true, and to unite itself therewith in a manner almost 
inseparable therefrom, the case assumes an entirely different 
grtmnd. It is then that errors, not morally bad, become 
fraught with the same mischiefs as if they were. It is then 
that Um tnith| thougk otherwise indifferent itself becomes aa 



FJjnrX.] THB AQJt OF RKASON. 17 

essential, by becoming the criterion, that either oonfirm» by 
Oorr®iponding evidence, or denies by contradictory evidence, 
the reality of the religion itself. In this view of the case, it 
IB the moral duty of man to obtain every possible evidence 
that the structure of the heavens, or any other part of crea- 
tion affords, with respect to systems of religion. But this, 
the supporters or partisans of the Christian system, as if 
dreading the result, incessantly opposed, and not only 
rejected the sciences, but persecuted the professors. HaJ 
Newton or Descartes lived three or four hundred years ago^ 
and pursued their studies as they did, it is most probable 
they would not have lived to finisn them; and had Franklin 
drawn lightning from the clouds at the same time, it would 
have been at the hazard of expiring for it in flames. 

Later times have laid all the blame upon the Goths and 
Vandals; but, however unv?illing the partisans of the Chris- 
tian system may be to believe or to acknowledge it, it is 
nevertheless true, that the age of ignorance commenced with 
the Christian system. There was more knowledge in the 
world before that period, than for many centuries afterwards; 
and as to religious knowledge, the Christian system, as 
already said, was only another species of mythology; and the 
mythology to which it succeeded, was a oorruption of an 
ancient system of theism.* 7^' %^htX.*f-^..p' ^ *-^"^ 

It is owing to this long inte^egnum of science, and to 
no other eause^ that we nave now to look through a vast 
chasm of many hundred years to the .respectable characters 

*It !• impossible for ns now to know at what time the heathen mrthology 

began ; bat it Is certain, from the internal evidence that it carries, thi^ it did not 
begin in the same state or condition in which it ended. All the gods of that 
mythology, except Satom. were of modem invention. The supposed reign o( 
Saturn was prior to that which is called the heathen mytholoi^, and was ao far a 
species of thelHm. that it admitted the belief of only one God. oatnm is supposed 
to have abdicated the government in favor of his three sons and one daaghter, 
Jupiter, Pluto, Neptune, and Juno; after this, thousands of other gods and demi- 
goos were imaginarily created, and the calendar of gods increased at fiast aa the 
calendar of saints and the calendars of courts have increased since. 

All the corruptions that have taken place, in theology and in religion, hvn been 
produced by admitting of what man calls revealed religion. The Mytholoeista 
pretended to more revealed religion than the Christians do. They had uielr 
oracles and their priests, who were supposed to receive and deliver th* WOrA 9t 
God verbally, on almost all occasions. 

Since then all corruptions down from Moloch to modem predestinaiianlsm, 
and the human sacrifices of the heathens t^ the Christian sacrifice of the Creator^ 
have been produced by admitting of what is called r*v«aUd religion; the most 
effectual means to prevent all such evils and impositions is, not to admit of any 
other revelation than that which is manifested iu the book of creation, and to 
contemplate the creation as the only true and real work of God that ever did, or 
ever will exist} and that syetything else called the word <rf 6o4« !• Wtl^ oai 



nn Aas o^ mmAmau [xurrii 

we call tlie ftnoients. Had the prosression of knowledge 
gone on proportionably with the stock that before existed, 
Qiat chasm would have been filled up with characters rising 
superior in knowledge to each other; and those ancient* 
we now so much admire, would have appeared respectably 
in the background of the scene. But the Christian system 
laid all waste ; and if we^ take our stand about the beginning 
of tne sixteenth century, we look back through that long 
chasm, to the times of the ancients, as over a vast sandy des- 
ert, in which not a shrub appears to intercept the vision, to 
the fertile hills bevond. 

It is an inconsistency scarcely possible to be credited, that 
any thing should exist, under the name of a religion, that 
held it to b© irreligious to study and contemplate the struc- 
ture of the universe that God had made. But the fact is too 
well estAblished to be denied. The event that served more 
than any other to break the first link in this long chain of 
despotic ignorance, is that known by the name of the Refor- 
mation by Luther. From that time, though it does not appear 
to have made any part of the intention of Luther, or of those 
who are called reformers, the sciences began to revive, and 
liberality, their natural associate, began to appear. This 
was the only public good the Reformation did ; for, with 
respect to religious good, it might as well not have taken 
place. The mythology still continued the same ; and a mul- 
tiplicity of National Popes grew out of the downfall of the 
Tope of Christendom. 

Having Uius shown from the internal evidence of things, 
the cause that produced a change in the state of learning, 
and the motive for substituting the s=kidy of dead languages, 
in the place of the sciences, I proceed, in addition to the sev- 
eral observations, already made in the former part of this 
work, to compare, or rather to confront the evidence that 
the structure of the universe affords, with the Christian sys- 
tem of religion ; but, as I cannot begin this part better than 
by referring to the ideas that occurred to me at an early part 
of Ufe, and which I doubt not have occurred in some degree 
to almost every other person at one time or other, I shall state 
what those ideas were, and add thereto such other matter as 
shall arise out of the subject, giving to the whole, by way of 
preface, a short introduction. 

Mj fatiiw being of the Quaker profession, it WM mf good 



PAST I.] 1HB AOX OF SMAfOK S9 

fortune to have an exceeding g^ood moral eduoalion, and a 
tolerable stock of useful learning. Though I went to the 
grammar school,^ I did not learn Latin, not only because I 
had no inclination to learn languages, but because of the ob- 
jection the Quakers have against Sie books in which the lan- 
guage is taught. But this did not prevent me from being 
acquainted with the subjects of all the fLatin books used in 
the school. 

The natural bent of mj mind was to science. I had some 
turn, and I believe some talent for poetry ; but this I rather 
repressed than^encouraged, as leading too much into the field 
of imagination. As soon as I was able, I purchased a pair of 

f lobes, and attended the philosophical lectures of Martin and 
'erguson, and became afterwards acquainted with Dr. Bevis, 
of the society, called the Royal Society, then living in the 
Temple, and an excellent astronomer. 

I had no disposition for what is called politics. It pre- 
sented to my mind no other idea than is contained in the 
word Jockeyship. When, therefore, I turned my thoughts 
towards matters of government, I had to form a system for 
myself, that accorded with the moral and philosophic princi- 
ples in which I had been educated. I saw, or at feast I 
thought I saw, a vast scene opening itself to the world in 
the affairs of America ; and it appeared to me, that unless 
the Americans changed the plan they were then pursuing, 
with respect to the government of England, and declared 
themselves independent, they would not only mvolve them- 
selves in a multiplicity of new difficulties, but shut out the 
prospect that was then offering itself to mankind through 
their means. It was from these motives that I published the 
work known by the name of " Common JSemej which is the 
first work I ever did publish ; and so far as I can judge 
of myself, I believe I should never have been known m the 
world as an author, on any subject whatever, had it not been 
for the affairs of America. I wrote " Common Sense'^ the 
latter end of the year 1775, and published it the first of Jan- 
uary, 1776. Independence was declared the fourth of July 
following. 

Any person, who has made observations on the state 
and progress of the human mind, by observing his owii, 

•The same tclKX^Thetford la Korfolk, that the prtMak OorbmIot IQagty 
Wat, to and wider Om aomc mamies. 



40 THS A&B Oy XKABOX. [PAXV I. 

cannot but have observed, that there are two dislanot 
classes of what are called Thoughts ; those that we produce 
in ourselves by reflection and the act of thinking, and those 
that bolt into the mind of their own accord. I have always 
made it a rule to treat those voluntary visitors with civility, 
taking care to examine, as well as I was able, if they were 
worth entertaining ; and it is from them I have acquired 
almost all the knowledge that I have. As to the learning 
that any person gains from school education, it serves only 
like a small capital, to put him in the way of beginning 
learning for himself afterwards. Every person of learning 
is finalfy his own teacher, the reason of which is, that prin- 
ciples, oeing of a distinct quality to circumstances, cannot 
be impressed upon the memory; their place of mental resi- 
dence is the understanding, and they are never so lasting as 
when they begin by conception. Thus much for the intro- 
ductory part. 

From the time I was capable of conceiving an idea, and 
acting upon it by reflection, I either doubted the truth of 
the Christian system, or thought it to be a strange affair; I 
scarcely knew which it was; but I well remember, when 
about seven or eight years of age, hearing a sermon read 
bv a relation of mine, who was a great devotee of the 
cnurch, upon the subject of what is called redemption by 
the death of the Son of God, After the sermon was ended, 
I went into the garden, and as I was going down the garden 
steps (for I perfectly recollect the spot) I revolted at the 
recollection of what I had heard, and thought to myself 
that it was making God Almighty act like a passionate 
man, that killed his son, when he could not revenge him- 
self any other way; and as I was sure a man would be 
hanged that did such a thing, I could not see for what pur- 
pose they preached such sermons. This was not one of that 
land of thoughts that had anything in it of childish levity; 
it was to me a serious reflection, arising from the idea 
I had, that God was too good to do sucn an action, and 
also too almighty to be under any necessity of doing it. 
I believe in the same manner at this moment; and I more- 
over believp^ that any system of religion that has any 
thing in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be a 
true system. 

It eeexQS as if parents of the ChristiaQ profession were 



TAm l] thb aab of sbabov. 41 

ashamed to tell their children any thing ahout the prin- 
ciples of their religion. They sometimes instruct them in 
morals, and talk to them of the goodness of what they call 
Providence; for the Christian Mythology has five deities — 
there is God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, 
the God Providence, and the Goddess Nature. But the 
Christian story of God the Father putting his son to death, 
or employing people to do it, (for that is the plain language 
of the story,) cannot be told by a parent to a child; and 
to tell him that it was done to make mankind happier and 
better, is making the story still worse; as if mankind could 
be improved by the example of murder; and to tell him 
that all this is a mystery, is only making an excuse for the 
incredibility of it. 

How different is this to the pure and simple profession 
of Deism! The true Deist has but one Deity; and his 
religion consists in contemplating the power, wisdom and 
bemgnity of the Deity in his works, and in endeavoring 
to imitate him in every thing moral, scientifical and me- 
chanical. 

The religion that approaches the nearest of all others to 
true Deism, in the moral and benign part thereof, is that 
professed by the Quakers: but they have contracted them- 
selves too much, by leaving the works of God out of theii 
system. Though I reverence their philanthropy, I can not 
help smiling at the conceit, that if the taste of a Quaker 
could have been consulted at the creation what a silent 
and drab-colored creation it would have been! Not a 
flower would have blossomed its gaities, nor a bird been 
permitted to sing. 

Quitting these reflections, I proceed to other matters. 
After I had made myself master of the use of the globes, 
and of the orrery,* and conceived an idea of the infinity of 
space, and the eternal divisability of matter, and obtained, 
at least, a general knowledge of what waa called natural 
philosophy, I began to compare, or, as I have before said, 

* As this book may fall Into the hands of persons wbo do sot know what 
aa orrerr Is, it is for their Information I add this note, as the name gives no 
idea of tne uses of the thins. The orrery has its name from the person who 
Invented it. It is a machmerr of clock-work, representing the universe in 
miniature, and in which the revolution of the earth round Iteeif and round the san, 
the revolution of the moon round the earth, the revolution of the planets round the 
■nn, their relative distances from the sun, as the centre of the whde 8}4tem« thelf 
TOlaove distances from each other, and their different icagaii^dM, MFt mptm mt f 
«d if t)M7 realljr ezUt la what we call tfee heaveiis. 



4t Torn Aam of sbabos. [past l 

to oonfiront the eternal eTidenoe those things afford witit 
the Christian system of faith. 

Though it is not a direct article of the Christian system^ 
that this world that we inhabit is the whole of the habit- 
able creation, yet it is so worked up therewith, from what 
is called the Mosaic aocoimt of the Creation, the story of 
Eve and the apple, and the counterpart of that story, the 
death of the Son of God, that to believe otherwise, that is, 
to believe that God created a plurality of worlds, at least as 
numerous as what we call stars, renders the Christian system 
of faith at once little and ridiculous, and scatters it in the 
mind like feathers in the air. The two beliefs cannot be 
held together in the same mind; and he who thinks that he 
believes both, has thought but Uttle of either. 

Though the belief of a plurality of worlds was familiar to 
the ancients, it is only within the last three centuries that 
the extent and dimensions of this globe that we inhabit have 
been ascertained. Several vessels, following the tract of the 
ocean, have sailed entirely round the world, as a man may 
march in a circle, and come round by the contrary side of the 
circle to the spot he set out from. The circular dimensionf 
of our world, m the widest part, as a man would measure 
the widest round of an apple, or a ball, is only twenty-five 
thousand and twenty English miles, reckoning sixty-nine 
miles and a half to an equatorial degree, and may be sailed 
round in the space of about three years.* 

A world of this extent may, at first thought, appear to as 
to be great; but if we compare it with the immensity of 
space in which it is suspendeo, like a bubble or balloon in the 
air, it is infinitely less, m proportion, than the smallest crain 
of sand is to the size of the world, or the finest particle of 
dew to the whole ocean, and is therefore but small; and, as 
will be hereafter shown, is only one of a system of worlds, of 
which the universal creation is composed. 

It is not difficult to gain some famt idea of the immensitnr 
of space in which this and all the other worlds are suspended, 
if we follow a progression of ideas. When we think of the 
size or dimensions of a room, our ideas limit themselves to 
the walls, and there they stop; but when our eye or our 
imagiaation darts into space, that is, when it looks upwards 

•Allowing • fhip to mlv^ an avenge, three miles la aa hoor, she wotdd ••! 
mMntf round the wwld In iMStliMi one year, if she ooidd nil la a fireol drdat 
l«li^lf«Ml8i«tofcfie«rtlio«9«iMof the oceca. 



PAST L] TBEB A«a OB 

Into what we call the open air, we cannot conoeire anj wallt 
or boundaries it can haye; and if for the sake of resting out 
Ideas, we suppose a boundary, ^e question immediately 
renews itself, and asks, what is beyond that boundary? and 
^n the same manner, what beyond the next boundary? and 
\o on till the fatigued imagination returns and says, there if 
'W? end. Certainly, then, the Creator was not pent for room, 
tfhen he made this world no larger than it is; and we have 
to seek the reason in something else. 

If we take a survey of our own world, or rather of this of 
wrhich the Creator has given us the use, as our portion in the 
immense system of Creation, we find every part of it, the 
Barth, the waters, and the air that surrounds it, filled, and, as 
It were, crowded with life, down from the largest animals we 
know of to the smallest insects the naked eye can behold, 
and from thence to others still smaller, and totally invisible 
without the assistance of the microscope. Every tree, every 
plant, every leaf, serves not only as an habitation, but as a 
world to some numerous race, till animal existence becomes 
so exceedingly refined, that the effluvia of a blade of grass 
would be food for thousands. 

Since, then, no part of our earth is left unoccupied, why is 
it to be supposed that the immensity of space is a naked ^ 
void, lying in eternal waste? There is room for millions of 
worlds as large or larger than ours, and each of them millions 
of miles apart from each other. 

Having now arrived at this point, if we carry our ideas 
only one thought further, we shall see, perhaps, the true 
reason, at least a very good reason, for our happiness, why 
the Creator, instead of making one immense world, extending 
over an immense quantity of space, has preferred dividing 
that quantity of matter mto several distinct and separate 
worlds, which we call planets, of which our earth is one. 
But before I explain my ideas upon this subject, it is neces- 
sary (not for the sake of those who already know, but 
for those who do not) to show what the system of the 
universe is. 

That part of the xmiverse that is called the solar system 
(meaning the system of worlds to which our earth belonffs, 
•nd of which Sol, or in English language, the Sun, is 3ie 
center) oonsists, besides the Sun, of six distinct orbs, or 
pUnetfi, or worldly besides the iecondaij bodies^ oslled th« 



A0B OV BSiiOH. [PASTL 

satellites or moons of which oui earth has one that attends 
her in her annual reyolution round the Sun, in like manner 
as other satellites or moons, attend the planets or worlds to 
which they severally belong, as may be seen by the assist- 
ance of the telescope. 

The Sim is the center, round which those six worlds or 
planets revolve at different distances therefrom, and in 
circles concentrate to each other. Each world keeps con- 
stantly in nearly the same track round the Sun, and con- 
tinues, at the same time, turning round itself, in nearly an 
upright position, as a top turns round itself when it is spin* 
mng on the ground, and leans a little sideways. 

It is this leaning of the earth (23^ degrees) that occasions 
summer and winter, and the different length of days and 
nights. If the earth turned round itself in a position per- 
pendicular to the plane or level of the circle it moves in 
aroimd the Sun, as a top turns round when it stands erect 
on the ground, the days and nights would be always of the 
same length — twelve hours day and twelve hours night — 
and the seasons would be uniformly the same throughout 
the year. 

Every time that a planet (our earth, for example) turns 
round itself, it makes what we call day and night; and every 
time it goes entirely round the Sun, it makes what we call a 
year; consequently our world turns three hundred and sixty- 
five times round itself in going once round the Sun.* 

The names that the ancients gave to those six worlds, and 
which are still called by the same names, are Mercury, Venus, 
this world that we call ours, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. They 
appear larger to the eye than the stars, being many million 
miles nearer to our earth than any of the stars are. The 
planet Venus is that which is called the evening star, and 
sometimes the morning star, as she happens to set after or 
rise before the Sun, which, in either case, is never more than 
three hours. 

The Sun, as before sud, being the centre, the planet, or 
world, nearest the Sun is Mercury; his distance from the 
Sun is thirty-four million miles, and he moves round in a 
circles always at that distance irom the Sun, as a top may 

*T1ioM who lapposed that the Son went round the earth ererj twentr-foor hoon 
made the same mistake, in idea, that a cook woold do in fact that saoold mak« 
the Are go rooad tb« me9^ inatesd of the ae«t taralag xoaad Usell towsnitf 



FJJff l] THX Asm OV BBAflOV. 4ft 

be supposed to smn round in the track in which a horse 
goes in a mill. The second world is Venus; she is fifty- 
seven million miles distant from the Sun, and consequently 
moves round in a circle much greater than that of Mercury. 
The third world is that we inhabit, and which is eighty- 
eight million miles distant from the Sun, and consequently 
moves round in a circle greater than that of Venus. The 
fourth world is Mars; he is distant from the Sun one hun- 
dred and thirty-four million miles, and consequently moves 
round in a circle greater than that of our earth. The fifth 
is Jupiter; he is distant from the sun five hundred and 
fifty-seven million miles, and consequently moves round in 
a cu-cle greater than that of Mars. The sixth world is Sat- 
urn ; he is distant from the Sun seven hundred and sixty- 
three million miles, and consequently moves round in a circle 
that surrounds the circles, or orbits, of all the other worlds 
or planets. 

The space, therefore, in the air, or in the immensity of 
«pace, ihaX our solar system takes up for the several worlds 
to perform their revolutions in round the Sun, is of the 
extent, in a straight line, of the whole diameter of the orbit 
or circle in which Saturn moves round the Sun, which, being 
double his distance from the Sun, is fifteen hundred and 
twenty-six million miles, and its circular extent is nearly five 
thousand million ; and its globical content is almost three 
thousand five hundred million times three thousand five 
hundred million square miles.* 

But this, immense as it is, is only one system of worlds. 
Beyond this, at a vast distance into space, far beyond all 
power of calculation, are the stars called the fixed stars. 
They are called fixed because they have no revolutionary 
motion, as the six worlds or planets have that I have been 

*If it vhoTiId b« Mked. how can man know these things f f hare on« plain 
•arwer to give, which 1« tnat man knows how to calculate an eclipse, and also 
how to calculate to a mlnate of time When the planet Yenas, in makinz her revo- 
Intlons round the Sun, will come in a stralsht line between our earth and the Sun. 
and will appear lo ua about the size of a large pea passing across the surf ce of 
the Sun. This happens but twice la about an nunored jeare, at the distance of 
about eight years from each other, and has^ happened twice in our time, both ot 
which were foreKinown by calculation. It can also be known when they will hap- 
pen again for a thousand jeart to come, or to anj other portion of time. As, 
therefore, man could not be aMe to do these things if he did not understand the 
•olar sjstem, and tiie manner in which the rerolutions <tf the sereral planeta or 
wMids are performed, the (lact ot ealculating an eclipse or a transit of Veaua Ic a 



proof la point that tk« kau»wie^« exiata; and,aa to a fsw ttiounad, or owa a few 
miitioo, Biitos aoro «r kaa, II wkakm M«roelj anj mh ' " 



' MMriiMa tfMKWCo lii 



4i tnt Amm «v bbabov. [pabt l 

describing. Those fixed stars continue always at the same 
distance from each other, and always in the same place, as 
the Sun does, in the center of oiir system. The prooability, 
therefore, is that each of those fixed stars is also a Sun, 
round which another system of worlds or planets, though too 
remote for us to discover, performs its revolutions, as our 
system of worlds does roimd our central Sim. 

By this easy progression of ideas the immensity of space 
win appear to us to be filled with systems of worlds; and 
that no part of space lies at waste, any more than any part 
of the globe or earth and water is left unoccupied. 

Having thus endeavored to convey, in a familiar and 
easy manner, some idea of the structure of the univerae, I 
return to explain what I before alluded to, namely, th^ 
rreat benefits arising to man in consequence of the Creator 
having made a plurality of worlds, such as our system is, 
consisting of a central Sun and six worlds besides satellites, 
in preference to that of creating one world only of a vast 
extent. 

It is an idea I have never lost sight of, that all our 
knowledge of science is derived from the revolutions (ex- 
hibited to our eye and from thence to our understanding) 
which those several planets or worlds, of which our system 
b composed, make in their circuit roimd the Sun. 

Had then the quantity of matter which these six worlds 
contain been blended mto one solitary globe, the conse- 
quence to us would have been, that either no revolutionary 
motion would have existed, or not a sufficiency of it to give 
us the idea and the knowledge of science we now have ; 
and it is from the sciences that all the mechanical arts that 
contribute so much to our earthly felicity and comfort, are 
derived. 

As, therefore, the Creator made nothing in vain, so also 
must it be believed that He organized the structure of the 
universe in the most advantageous manner for the benefit 
of man ; and as we see, and from experience feel, the bene- 
fits we derive from the structure of the universe, formed as 
it is, which benefits we should not have had the opportunity 
of enjoying, if the structure, so far as relates to our system, 
had been a solitary globe — we can discover at least one 
reason why a plurality of worlds has been made, and that 
reason calls forth thd devotional gratitude of man, ai wall 
M h' ff ttdwiiratioHk 



fAXt l] fm A.€m or smabov. 47 

But it is not to us, the inliabitants of this j^obe, onlj, 
that the benefits arising from a plurality of worlds are 
limited. The inhabitants of eaoh of the worlds of which 
our system is composed, enjoy the same opportunities o£ 
knowledge as we do. They behold the revolutionair mo- 
tions of our earth, as we behold theirs. All the planets 
revolve in sight of each other ; and, therefore, the same 
universal school of science presents itself to all. 

Neither does the knowledge stop here. The system of 
worlds next to us exhibits, in its revolutions, the same 
principles and school of science, to the inhabitants of their 
system, as our system does to us, and in like manner 
throughout the immensity of space. 

Our ideas, not only of the almightiness of the Creator, 
but of his wisdom and his beneficence, become enlarged in 
proportion as we contemplate the extent and the structure 
of the universe. The solitary idea of a solitary world, roll- 
ing or at rest in the immense ocean of space, gives place to 
the cheerful idea of a socie^ of worlds, so happily con- 
trived as to administer, even by their motion, instruction to 
man. We see our own earth filled with abundance ; but 
we forget to consider how much of that abundance is owin^ 
to the scientific knowledge the vast machinery of the urn- 
Terse has unfolded. 

But, in the midst of those reflections, what are we to 
think of the Christian system of faith, that forms itself upon 
the idea of only one world, and that of no greater extent, 
as is before shown, than twenty-five thousand miles ? An 
extent which a man, walking at the rate of three miles an 
hour, for twelve hours in the day, could he keep on in a 
circular direction, would walk entirely round in less than 
two years. Alas ! what is this to the mighty ocean of space, 
and the almighty power of the Creator. 

From whence tnen could arise the solitary and strange 
conceit, that the Almighty, who had millions of worlds 
equally dependent on ms protection, should auit the care 
of all the rest, and come to die in our world, because they 
say one man and one woman had eaten an apple 1 And, 
on the other hand, are we to suppose that every world in 
the boimdless creation, had an Eve, an apple, a serpent, 
and a redeemer ? In this case, the person who is irrever- 
•Atlj called the Son <d Gkxl, and sometimes Gk>d himiielf| 



48 IBB AGS OF SBA80H« iTJLKt L 

would hare nothing else to do than to travel from world 
to world, in an encuess succession of death, with scarcely a 
momentarj interral of life. 

It has been by rejecting the evidence, that the word or 
works of God in the creation afford to our senses, and the 
action of our reason upon that evidence, that so many wild 
and whimsical systems of faith, and of religion, have been 
fabricated and set up. There may be many systems of re- 
ligion, that so far trom being morally bad, are in many 
respects morally good : but there can be but onb that is 
true ; and that one necessarily must, as it ever will, be in 
all things consistent with the ever-existing word of Grod 
that we behold in his works. But such is the strange con- 
struction of the Christian system of faith, that every eri- 
dence the Heavens afford to man, either directly contradicts 
it, or renders it absurd. 

It is possible to believe, and I alwajis feel pleasure in 
encouraging myself to believe it, that there have been men 
in the world, who persuade themselves that, what b called 
a pious fraud, might, at least under particular circumstances, 
be productive of some good. But the fraud being onoe 
established, could not afterwards be explained; for it is with 
a pious fraud as with a bad action, it begets a calamitom 
necessity of going on. 

The persons who first preached the Christian system of 
faith, and in some measure combined it with the morality 
preached by Jesus Christ, might persuade themselves that 
It was better than the heathen mythology that then pre- 
vailed. From the first preachers the fraud went on to the 
second, and to the third, till the idea of its being a pious 
fraud became lost in the belief of its being true; and that 
belief became again encouraged by the interests of those 
who made a livelihood by preaching it. 

But though such a beuef might, by such means, be ren- 
dered almost general among the laity, it is next to impossi- 
ble to account for the continual persecution carried on by 
the church, for several hundred/ years, against the sciences, 
and against the professors of sciences, if the church had not 
some record or tradition, that it was originaUy no other 
than a pious fraud, or did not foresee, that it could not be 
maintained against th« evidence that the itruotura of the 
vairene aff oraad. 



Haying thui thown the iireoonoilable inconsistenoiei 
between the real word of Grod existing in the universe and 
that which is called the word of Gody as shown to us in a 
printed book that any man might make, I proceed to speak 
of the three principal means that have been employed in all 
a^es, and perhaps in all countries, to impose upon man- 
kind. 

These three means are Mystery, Miracle, and Prophecy. 
The two first are incompatible with true religion, and the 
third ought always to be suspected. 

With respect to mystery, every thing we behold la, in 
one sense, a mystery to us. Our own existence is a mystery; 
the whole vegetable world is a mystery. We cannot account 
how it is that an acorn, when put into the ground, is made to 
develop itself, and become an oak. We know not how it ia 
chat the seed we sow unfolds and multiplies itself, and re- 
eums to us such an abundant interest for 80 amall a 
capital. 

The fact, however, as distinct from the operating cause, 
IS not a mystery, because we see it; and we know also the 
means we are to use, which is no other than putting seed 
in the ground. We know, therefore, as much as is neces- 
sary for us to know; and that part of the operation that we 
do not know, and which if we did, we could not perform, 
the Creator takes upon himself and performs it for us. We 
are, therefore, better off than if we had been let into the secret, 
and left to do it for ourselves. 

But though every created thing is, in this sense, a mys- 
tery, the word mystery cannot be applied to moral Sruihy 
any more than obscurity can be applied to light. The God 
in whom we believe is a God of moral truth, and not a Grod 
of mystery or obscuri^. Mystery is the antagonist of truth. 
It isi a fog of human invention, that obscures truth, and rep- 
resents it in distortion. Truth never envelops itself in mys- 
tery; and the mystery in which it is at any time enveloped, 
is the work of its antagonist, and never of itself. 

Religion, therefore, being the belief of a God, and the 
practice of moral truth, cannot have connection with mys- 
tery* The belief of a God, so far from having anything of 
mjsterj in it is of all beliefs the most easy, because it aris^ 
to «^ as is before observed, out of necessity. And the 
«€ moral truth, or^ in other words, a practical imite- 



i# ¥88 A&B 07 SSA80S. [PiJ» L 

Uon of the moral goodness of Gk>d, is no other than our 
acting toward each other as he acts benignly toward all 
W« cannot serve God in the manner we serve those who 
cannot do without such service; and, therefore, the only idea 
we can have of serving God, is that of contributinff to the 
happiness of the living creation that God has made. This 
cannot be done by retiring ourselves from the society of the 
world, and spending a recluse life in selfish devotion. 

The very nature and design of religion, if I may so ex- 
press it, prove even to demonstration, that it must be free 
from every thing of mysteir, and unincumbered with every- 
thing that is mysterious. Keligion, considered as a duty, is 
incumbent upon every living soul alike, and, therefore, 
must be on a level to the understanding and comprehension 
of alL Man does not learn religion as he learns the secrets 
and mysteries of a trade. He learns the theory of religion 
by reflection. It arises out of the action of his own mind 
upon the things which he sees, or upon what he may 
happen to hear or to read, and the practice joins itseu 
hereto. 

When men, whether from policy or pious fraud, set up 
^tems of religion incompatible with the word or works of 
God in the creation, and not only above, but repugnant to 
human comprehension, they were under the necessity of 
inventing or adopting a word that should serve as a bar to all 
questions, inquiries and speculations. The word mystery 
answered this purpose; and thus it has happened that reli- 
gion, which is in itself without mystery, has been corrupted 
into a fog of mysteries. 

As mystery answered all general purposes, m»rac/« followed 
as an occasional auxiliary. The former served to bewilder 
the mind; the latter to puzzle the senses. The one wa*' the 
lingo, the other the legerdemain. 

But before going further into this subject, it will be proper 
to inquire what is to be understood by a miracle. 

In the same sense that everything mav'*be said to be a 
mystery, so also may it be said that everything is a miracle, 
and that no one thing is a greater miracle than another. 
The elephant, though larger, is not a greater miracle than a 
mite; nor a mountain a greater miracle than an atom. To 
an almighty power, it is no more difiScult to make the one 
titan the otner; and no more difficult to make a million of 



1.] fHS ABM OV UEA80X. il 

wm'lds thaA to make one. Eyeiything, therefore, is a miracle 
in one sense, whilst in the other sense, there is no suoh thing 
as a miracle. It is a miracle when compared to our power, 
and to our comprehension; it is not a miracle compared to 
the power that performs it; but as nothing in this descrip- 
tion conveys the idea that is a^ed to the word miracle, it if 
necessaiT to carry the inquiry further. 

Mankind have conceived to themselves certain laws, by 
which what they call nature is supposed to act, and that a 
miracle is something contrary to the operation and effect oi 
those laws, but unless we know the whole extent of those 
laws, and of what are commonly called the powers of nature, 
we are not able to judge whether anything that may appear 
to us wonderful or miraculous, be within, or be beyond, or be 
contrary to, her natural power of acting. 

The ascension of a man several miles high into the air, 
would have everything in it that constitutes the idea of a 
miracle, if it were not known that ar specifes of air can be 
generated several times lighter than the common atmospheric 
air, and yet possess elasticity enough to prevent the balloon, 
in which that light air is enclosed, from being compressed 
into as many times less bulk, by the common air that sur- 
rounds it. In like manner, extracting flames or sparks of fire 
from the human body, as visible as from a steel struck with a 
flint, aad causing iron or steel to move without any visible 
agent, would also give the idea of a miracle, if we were not 
acquainted with electricity and magnetism; so also would 
many other experiments in natural philosophy, to those who 
are not acquainted with the subject. The restoring persons 
to Ufe, who are to appearance dead, as is practiced upon 
drowned persons, woiild also be a miracle, if it were not 
known that animation is capable of being suspended without 
being extinct. 

Besides these, there are performances by slight-of-hand, 
and by persons acting in concert, that have a miraculous 
appearance, which, when known, are thought nothing of. 
And, besides these, there are mechanical and optical decep- 
tions. There is now an exhibition in Paris of ghosts or 
spectres, which, though it is not imposed upon the spectators 
as a fact, has an astonishing appearance. As, therefore, we 
know not the extent to which either nature or art can go. 
there i» no eriterion to determine what a miracle is; ana 



AOM urn MMJkmm. [r^svi. 

mankind, in giving <ffedit to appearance, under the idea 
of there being miracles, are subject to be ocmtinually imposed 
upon. 

Since then appearances are so capable of deceiving, and 
things not real naye a strong resemblance to things that are, 
Bothmg can be more inconsistent than to suppose that the 
Almighly would make use of means, such as are called 
miracles, that would subject the person who performed them 
to the suspicion of being an imposter, and the person who 
related them to be suspected of lying, and the doctrine 
intended to be supported thereby to be suspected as a 
fabulous invention. 

Of all the modes of evidence that ever were intended to 
obtain belief to any system or opinion to which the name of 
religion has been given, that of miracle, however successful 
the imposition may have been, is the most inconsistent. 
For, in the first place, whenever recourse is had to show, 
for the purpose of procuring that belief, (for a miracle, 
under any idea of the word, is a show,) it implies a lame- 
ness or wickedness in the doctrine that is preached. And, 
in the second place, it is degrading the Almighty into the 
character of a showman, playing tricks to amuse and make 
the people stare and wonder. It is also the most equivocal 
sort of evidence that can be set up, for the belief is not to 
depend upon the thing called a miracle, but upon the credit 
of the reporter who says that he saw it ; and, therefore, the 
thing, were it true, would have no better chance of being 
believed than if it were a lie. 

Suppose I were to say that, when I sat down to write this 
book, a hand presented itself in the air, took up the pen and 
wrote every word that is herein written ; would anybody 
believe me? Certainly they would not. Would they b^ 
lieve me a whit the more if the thing had been a fact? Cer- 
tainly they would not. Since, then, a real miracle, were it 
to happen, would be subject to the same fate as the false- 
hood, the inconsistency becomes the greater of supposing 
the Almighty would make use of means that would not an-^ 
swer the purpose for which they were intended, even if they 
were reaL 

If we are to suppose a miracle to be something so entirely ^ j 
out of the course of what is called nature that she must go ^ ! 
mA q£ tluki Qfmtm to accomplish it, and wo see ml account 



ll 



l] m Asm ov 

ffiyen <^ Buoh miracle bj the person who said he saw it| 
it raises a question in the mind very easily decided, which ia, 
is it more probable that nature should go out of her course, 
or that a man should tell a lie? We have never seen, in our 
time, natvu-e go out of her course ; but we have ffood reason 
to believe that millions of lies have been told m the same 
time. It is, therefore, at least millions to (me that the re- 
porter of a miracle tells a lie. 

The story of the whale swallowing Jonah, though a whale 
is large enough to do it, borders greatly on the marvelous ; 
but it would have approached nearer to the idea of miracle if 
Jonah had swallowed the whale. In this, which may serve 
fcH' all cases of miracles, the matter would decide itself as 
before stated — ^namely, is it more probable that a man should 
have swallowed a whale or told a lie? 

But suppose that Jonah had really swallowed the whale, 
and gone with it in his belly to Nineveh, and, to convince 
the people th^t it was true, have cast it up in their sight, oi 
the full length and size of a whale, would they not have 
believed him to have been the devil, instead of a prophet? 
or, if the wha^e had carried Jonah to Nineveh, and cast him 
tip in the sam(> public manner, would they not have believed 
the whale to ^ve been the devil, and Jonah one of his 
imps? 

The most extraordinary of all the things called miracles 
related in the New Testament, is that cw the devil flying 
away with Jesus Christ, and carryinff him to the top of a 
high mountain, a^d to the top of the highest pinnacle of the 
temple, and showing him and promising to him all the king- 
doms of the world. How happened it that he did not dis- 
cover America? or, is it only with kingdoms that his sootj 
highness has any interest? 

I have too much respect for the moral character of Chrurt 
to believe that he told this whale of a miracle himself; 
neither is it easy to account for what purpose it could have 
been fabricated, unless it were to impose upon the connois- 
seurs of miracles, as is sometimes practiced upon the con- 
noisseurs of Queen Anne*s farthings, and collectors of relioi 
and antiquities; ot, to render the belief of miracles ridicu- 
lous by outdoing miracles, as Don Quixote outdid chivalry; 
or, to embarrass the belief of miracles, by making ik 
dtnibtfal by what power, whether of Qod or tM devU, aa^- 



iMng called a mlraole waa performed. It reonires, how- 
eyer, a great deal of faith in the devil to believe thif 
miraole. 

In every point of view in which those things called mira- 
cles can be placed and considered, the reauty of them is 
improbable, and their existence unnecessary. They would 
not, as before observed, answer any useful purpose, even ii 
they were true, for it is more difficult to obtain belief to a 
miraole than to a principle evidently moral, without any 
miracle. Moral principle speaks universally for itself. Mira- 
cle could be but a thing of the moment, and seen but by a 
few. After this, it requires a transfer of faith from God to 
man to believe a miracle upon man's report. Instead, 
therefore, of admitting the recitals of miracles as evidence 
of any syi^tem of religion being true, they ought to be con- 
sidered as symptoms of its being fabulous. It is necessary 
to the full and upright character of truth that it rejects the 
crutch; and it is consistent with the character of fable to 
seek the aid that truth rejects. Thus much for mystery and 
miracle. 

As mystery and miracle took charge of the past and the 
present, prophecy took charge of the future, and rounded 
the tenses of faith. It was not sufficient to know what had 
been done, but what would be done. The supposed prophet 
was the supposed historian of times to come; and if he 
happened in shooting with a long bow of a thousand years, 
to strike within a thousand miles of a mark, the ingenuity 
of posterity could make it point blank ; and if he happened 
to be directly wrong, it was only to suppose, as in the case 
of Jonah and Nineveh, that God had repented himself and 
changed his mind. What a fool do fabulous systems make 
of man I 

It has been shown, in a former part of this work, that 
the original meaning of the words prophet and prophesying 
has been changed, and that a prophet, in the sense of the 
word as now used, is a creature of modem invention; and 
it is owing to this change in the meaning of the words, that 
the flights and metaphors of the Jewish poets, and phrases 
and expressions now rendered obscure by our not being 
acquainted with the local circumstances to which they ap- 
plied at the time they were used, have been erected into 
prophecies, and made to bend to explanations, at the will 



VAST l] nOI AAS or XIA80V. M 



and wblmideft! oonoeits of seotaries, expomideni and oom> 
mentatoTS. Eyerythinff nnintellicrible was prophetioa], and 
ereq^hing msignlficmt was typiciL A blunder would Uve 
served as a prophecy, and a dish-clout for a lype. 

If by a prophet we are to suppose a man to whom the 
Almighty communicated some event that would take place 
in future, either there were such men, or there were not. 
If there were, it is consistent to believe that the event so 
oommunicated would be told in terms that could be under- 
stood, and not related in such a loose and obscure manner 
as to be out of the comprehensions of those that heard it, 
and so equivocal as to fit almost any circumstance that 
mi^ht happen afterwards. It is conceiving very irrever- 
enUy of tne Almighty to suppose he would deal in this 
jestmg manner with mankind; yet all the things called 
prophecies in the book called the Bible come under this 
description 

But it is with prophecy as it is with miracle: it could not 
vAnswer the puipose, even if it were real. Those to whom a 
prophecy should be told could not tell whether the man 
prophesied or lied, or whether it had been revealed to him, 
or whether he conceited it; and, if the thing that he prophe- 
sied, or intended to prophesy, should happen, or something 
like it, among the multitude of things that are daily hap- 
pening, nobody could again know whether he foreknew it or 
guessed at it, or whether it was accidental. A prophet, there- 
fore, is a character useless and unnecessary; and the safe side 
of the case is to guard against being imposed upon, by not 
giving credit to such relations. 

Upon the whole, mystery, miracle and prophecy are ap- 
pendages that belong to fabulous, and not to true religion. 
They are the means by which so many Lo heres! and Le 
theresi have been spread about the world, and religion 
been made into a trade. The success of one imposter gave 
encouragement to another, and the quieting salvo of doing 
Bome good by keeping up ik pious fraud protected them &om 
remorse. 

Having now extended the subject to a greater length than 
I first intended, I shall bring it to a close by abstractisg a 
summary from the whole. 

First — That the idea or belief of a word of God existing 
In print, or in writing, or in speech, is inoc»MUiteiit in inseL^ 



56 im A»m ov xbasov. [pur i. 

for reasons already assigned. These reasons, among manj 
others, are the want of an universal hmguage; the mutability 
of language; the errors to whioh translations are subject; 
the possibility of totally suppressing such a word; the prob- 
abihty of altering it, or of fabricating the whole, and impos- 
ing it upon the world. 

Secondly — That the Creation we behold is the real and 
eyer-existing word of God, in which we cannot be deceived. 
It proclaims his power, it demonstrates his wisdom, it mani- 
fests his goodness and beneficence. 

Thirdly — That the moral duty of man consists in imitat- 
ing the moral goodness and beneficence of God manifested 
in the creation towards all his creatures; that, seeing, as we 
daily do, the goodness of God to all men, it is an example 
calhng upon all men to practice the same towards each other; 
and, consequently, that everything of persecution and revenge 
between man and man, and everything of cruelty to animala, 
is a violation of moral duty. 

I trouble not myself about the manner of future exist- 
ence. I content myself with believing, even to positive con- 
viction, that the power that gave me existence is able to 
continue it, in any form and manner he pleases, either with 
or without this body; and it appears more probable to 
me that I shall continue to exist hereafter tnan that I 
should have had existence, as I now have, before that exist- 
ence began. 

It is certain that, in one point, all nations of the earth and 
all religions agree: all believe in a God. The things in which 
they disagree are the redundancies annexed to that belief; 
and, therefore, if ever a universal religion should prevail, it 
will not be believing anything new, but in getting rid of re- 
dundancies, and believing as man believed at first. Adam, 
if ever there was such a man, was created a Deist ; but, in 
the meantime, let every man follow, as he has a right to do, 
the religion and the worship he prefers. 



PREFACE. 



I have mentioned in the former part of 77ie Age of Rea- 

«m, that it had long been my mtention to publish my 
thoughts upon religion ; but that I had originally reserved 
it to a later period in Ufe, intending it to be the last work 
I should undertake. The circumstances, however, which 
existed in France in the later end of the year 1793, deter- 
mined me to delay it no longer. The just and humane prin- 
ciples of the revolution which philosophy had first diffused, 
had been departed from. The idea, always dangerous to 
society as it is derogatory to the Almighty, that priests could 
forgive sins, though it seemed to exist no longer, had blunted 
the feelings of humanity, and prepared men for the commis- 
sion of all manner of crimes. The intolerant spirit of church 
persecutions had transferred itself into politics; the tribunal, 
styled revolutionary, supplied the place of an inquisition; 
and the guillotine and the stake outdid the fire and the fag- 
got of the church. I saw many of my most intimate friends 
destroyed ; others daily carried to prison; and I had reason 
to believe, and had also intimations given me, that the same 
danger was approaching myself. 

Under these disadvantages, I began the former part of 
the Age, of Heason; I had, besides, neither Bible nor Testa- 
ment to refer to, tibough I was writing against both; nor 
could I prociwe any; notwithstanding which I have produced 
a work that no Bible-beKever, though writing at his ease, 
and with a library of church books about him, can refute. 
Towards the latter end of December of that year, a motion 
was made and carried, to exclude foreigners from the oon- 
rention. There were but two in it, Anacharsia Cloots and 
myself ; &nd I saw I was particularly pointed at by Bourdon 
de rOise, in his speech on that motion. 

CoiMeiTing, after thia, ^t I bad bat a fow daji of Iflb" 



•rtjr, I iftt down and bronglit the work to a close m speedilj 
«s possible; and I had not finished it more than six houra, 
in the state it has since appeared, before a guard came there 
about three in the morning, with an order signed by the two 
eommittees of public safety and Surety-General, for putting 
me In arrestation as a foreigner, and conveyed me to the 
prison of the Luxembourg. I contrived, in my way there, 
to call on Joel Barlow, and I put the manuscript of the 
work into his hands, as more safe than in my possession in 
prison ; and not knowing what mi^ht be the fate in France 
either of the writer or the work, I addressed it to the protec- 
tion of the citizens of the United States. 

It is with justice that I say that the guard who executed 
this order, and the interpreter of the Committee of General 
Surety, who aocompanied them to examine my papers, treated 
me not only with civility, but with respect. The keeper of 
the Luxembourg, Bennoit, a man of good heart, showed to 
me every frieudsmp in his power, as did also his family, while 
he continued in that station. He was removed from, it, put 
into arrestation^ and carried before the tribimal upon a m»> 
lignant accusation, but acquitted. 

After I had been in the Luxembourg about three weeks, iiie 
Americaiis, then in Paris, went in a bodv to the convention, 
to reclaim me as their countryman and friend ; but were 
answered by the President, Vader, who was also President 
of the Committee of Sure^-General, and had signed the 
nrder for my arrestation, that I was bom in England. I heard 
no more, after this, from any person out of the walls of the 
prison, till the fall of Robespierre, on the 9th of Thermidor 
.-July 27, 1794. 

About two months before this event, I was seized with a 
fever, that in its progress had every symptom of becoming 
mortal, and from the effects of which I am not reoovereoL 
It was then that I remembered with renewed satisfaction, 
and congratulated myself most sincerely on having written 
the former part of The Age of Reason, I had then but 
littie expectation of surviving, and those about me had less. 
I know, therefore, by experience, the conscientious trial of 
lay own principles. 

I was then with three chamber comrades, Joseph Van- 
Ibeule, oi Bruges, Charles Bastini, and Michael Rubyns, of 
LoovsiB* The unceasing and anxious atti«2&tioxi of theee 



three Mend« to me hj night and bj- daj, I remember 
with gratitude, and mention with pleasure. It happened 
that a physician (Dr. Graham) and a surgeon, (Mr. Bond,) 
part of the suite of General 0*Hara, were then m the Lux- 
embourg. I ask not myself, whether it be convenient to 
them, as men under the English govemment. That I exprera 
to them my tnanks; but I should reproach myself if 1 did 
not; and also to the physician of the Luxembourg, Dr. 
Markoski. 

I have some reason to believe, because I cannot discover 
any other cause, that this illness preserved me in existence. 
Among the papers of Robespierre that were examined and 
reported upon to the Convention, by a Committee of Depu- 
ties, is a note in the hand-writing of Bobespierro, in the 
following words: 

**Demander que Thomai Paine solt To demand that a deeree of aeeaa*- 
decreteud'accosatlon, poor l*intexet de tlon be passed against Thomaa Paine 
TAmen^ne antant que de la France.** for the Interest oi America, as well aa 

of France. 

From what cause it was ^at the intention waa not put in 
execution, I know not and cannot inform myself; and 
therefore I ascribe it to impossibility, on aceoimt gkT that 
Illness. 

The Convention, to repair as much as lay in their power 
the injustice I had sustained, invited me publicly and unani- 
mously to return into the Convention, and which I accepted, 
to show that I could bear an injury without permitting it to 
injure my principles or my disposition. It is not because 
right principles have been violated, that they are to be 
abandoned* 

I have seen, since I have been at liberty, several publica- 
tions written, some in America, and some in England, as 
answers to the former part of *^ The Age of Reason.^' If the 
authors of these can amuse themselves by so doing, I shall 
not interrupt them. They may write against the work, and 
■fainst me, as much as they please; they do me more service 
thui they intend, and I can have no objection that they write 
on. They will find, however, by this second part, without 
its being written as an answer to them, that thejmust return 
to their work, and spin their oobweb over again. The firat 
la brushed away by accident 

They will now find that I have fozniahed mrseif with a 
Bible and a Teitament; and I eaa say alio Hiftt X kayo Iooba 



them to be miioh worse books than I had ooneeiTed. If I 
have erred in anything, in the former part of ** The A^ of 
Reason," it has been by speaking better of some parts of 
ihoae books than the|^ haye deserved. 

I observe that au my OTO>onent8 resort, more or leas, to 
what they call Scripture Evidenoe and Bible authority, to 
help them oat. They are so little masters of the subject, as to 
oonfound a dispute about authenticity with a dispute about 
doctrines; I will, however, put them right, that if they 
should be disposed t^ inite any more, they may know how 
to begin. 

THOMAS PAINS. 



THE AGE OF REASON. 



PABT BBOOND. 

It has oft^n been said, that anything maj be prored froa 
the Bible, but before anything can be admittea as prored 
by the Bible, the Bible itself must be proved to be true ; 
for if the Bible be not true, or the truth of it be doubtful, 
it oeases to hare authority, and cannot be admitted as proof 
of anything. 

It has been the practioe of all Christian commentators on 
the Bible, and of all Christian priests and preachers, to 
impose the Bible on the world as a mass of truth, and as the 
word of God ; they have disputed and wrangled and anathe- 
matized each other about the supposable meaning of particu- 
lar parts Shd passages therein ; one has said and insisted 
that such a passage meant such a thin^ ; another that it 
meant directly the contrary ; and a third, that it means 
neither one nor the otlier, but something different from 
both ; and this they call understanding the Bible. 

It has happened, that all the answers which I have seen 
to the former part of the Age of Hecuon have been written 
by priests ; and these pious men like their predecessors, 
contend and wrangle, and pretend to understand the Bible; 
each understands it differently, but each understands it best; 
and they have agreed in nothing, but in telling their readers 
that Thomas Paine understands it not. 

Now instead of wasting their time, and heating themselves 
in fractious disputations about doctrinal points drawn from 
the Bible, these men ought to know, and if they do not, it is 
oivility to inform them, that the first thing to be understood 
is, whether there is sufficient authority for believing the 
Bible to be the word of God, or whether there is not. 

Tliere are laatten in that book, said to be done hj Um 

•I 



M m Aiia OF xiAioir. [fast b. 



taeprtis oommand of Gkxi, tliat mre as shooking to humauitj, 
and to everj idea we have of moral justice, as anything 
done by Robespierre, by Carrier, by Joseph le Bon, in 
France, by the English government in the East Indies, or 
by any other assassin in modern times. When we read in the 
books ascribed to Moses, Joshua, etc., that they (the Israel- 
ites) came by stealth upon whole nations of people, who, 
as the history itself shows, had given them no offense ; that 
they put all those nations to the sword/ that they spared 
neither age nor infancy / that they utterly destroyed men^ 
women and children / that they left not a soul to breathe/ 
expressions that are repeated over and over again in those 
books, and that too with exulting ferocity ; are we sure 
these things are facts? Are we sure that the Creator of 
man commissioned these things to be done? Are we sure 
that the books that tell us so were written by his authority? 

It is not the antiquity of a tale that is any evidence of its 
truth ; on the contrary, it is a symptom of its being fabu- 
lous ; for the more ancient any history pretends to be, the 
more it has the resemblance of a fable. The origin of every 
nation is buried in fabulous tradition, and that of the Jews 
is as much to be suspected as any other. To charge the 
commission of acts upon the Almighty, which in their own 
nature, and by every rule of moral justice, are crimes as all 
assassination is, and more especially the assassination of 
infants, is matter of serious concern. The Bible tells us>, 
that those assassinations were done by the express command 
cf God, To believe, therefore, the Bible to be true, we must 
unbelieve all our belief in the moral justice of God ; for 
wherein could crying or smiling infants offend? And 
to read the Bible without horror, we must undo everything 
that is tender, sympathizing, and benevolent in the heart of 
man. Speaking for myself, if I had no other evidence that 
the Bible was fabulous, than the sacrifice I must make to 
believe it to be true, that alone would be sufficient to deter- 
mine my choice. 

But m addition to all the moral evidence against the 
Bible, I will in the progress of this work produce such oth- 
er evidence, as even a priest cannot deny ; and show, from 
that evidence, that the Bible is not entitled to credit, ai 
being the word of God. 

But, before I proceed to this ezaminftUoBi I will show 



FA1ITII.3 t'WS Aea 01* SSA80H. 6S 

wherein the Bible differs from all other ancient writings 
with respect to the nature of the eridenoe necessary to 
establish its authenticitj ; and this is more proper to be 
done, because the advocates of the Bible, in their answers 
to the former part of the Age of Reason^ undertake to say, 
and they put some stress thereon, that the authenticity of 
the Bible is as well established as that of any other ancient 
book ; as if our belief of the one oould beoome any rule for 
our belief of the other. 

I know, however, but of one ancient book that authorita- 
tively challenges universal consent and belief, and that is 
Euclid^ 8 Elements of Geometry ji* and the reason is, because 
it is a book of self-evident demonstration, entirely indepen- 
dent of its author, and of everything relating to time, place 
and circumstance. The matters contained in that book 
would have the same authority they now have, had they 
been written by any other person, or had the work been 
anonymous, or nad the author never been known ; for the 
identical certainty of who was the author, makes no part of 
our belief of the matters contained in the book. But it is 

3uite otherwise with respect to books ascribed to Moses, to 
oshua, to Samuel, &c. Those are books of testimony^ and 
they testify of things naturally incredible ; and, therefore, 
the whole of our belief, as to the authenticity of those 
books, rests, in the first place, upon the certainty that they 
were written by Moses, Joshua, and Samuel; secondly, 
upon the credit we give to their testimony, "We may believe 
the first, that is, we may believe the certainty of the author- 
ship, and yet not the testimony, in the same manner that we 
may believe that a certain person gave evidence upon a 
case and yet not believe the evidence that he gave. But ii 
it should be found, that the books ascribed to Moses, 
Joshua, and Samuel, were not written by Moses, Joshua, 
►and Samuel, every part of the authority and authenticity 
of those books is gone at once ; for there can be no such 
thing as forged or invented testimony ; neither can there be 
anonymous testimony, more especially as to things nat- 
urally incredible, such as that of talking with God face to 
face, or that of the sun and moon standing still at the 

* IvcUd, according to chronological history, Hyed three hnndrod j9tn htiam 
OhrUt, and aboat on* hundred before ▲rehlaedaai he wac of the dtj of . " 
Ma,lalflrpt. 



i4 TB3B A«B OF BXA80V. [PJLXY IL 

eommand of a man. The ^eater part of the other 
ancient books are works of genius ; of which kind are those 
ascribed to Homer, to Plato, to Aristotle, to Demosthenes, 
to Cicero, &o. Here again the author is not essential in 
the credit we give to any of those works ; for, as works of 
genius, they would hare the same merit they have now, 
were they anonymous. Nobody believes the Trojan story, 
as related by Homer, to be true, for it is the poet only that 
is admired ; and the merit of the poet will remain, tnough 
the story be fabulous. But, if we disbelieve the matters 
related by the Bible authors, (Moses for instance,) as we dis- 
believe the things related by Homer, there remains nothing 
of Moses, in our estimation, but an imposter. As to the 
ancient historians, from Herodotus to Tacitus, we credit 
them as far as they relate things probable and credible, and 
no further ; for, if we do, we must believe the two miracles 
which Tacitus relates were performed by Vespasian — that 
of curing a lame man, and a blind man, in just the same 
manner as the same things are told of Jesus Christ by his 
historians. We must also believe the miracles cited by 
Josephus — that of the sea of Pamphilia opening to let 
Alexander and his army pass, as is related of the Red Sea 
'n Exodus. These miracles are quite as well authenticated 
AS the Bible miracles, and yet we do not believe them ; oon- 
sequently the degree of evidence necessary to establish our 
belief oi things naturally incredible, whether m the Bible 
or elsewhere, is far greater than that which obtains our 
belief to natural and probable things ; and, therefore, the 
advocates for the Bible have no claim to our belief of the 
Bible, because that we believe things stated in other ancient 
writings; since we believe the things stated in these writings 
no further than they are probable and credible, or because 
they are self-evident, like Euclid ; or admire them because 
they are elegant, like Homer ; or approve them because 
they are sedate, like Plato ; or judicious, like Aristotle. 

Having premised these things, I proceed to examine the 
authenticity of the Bible, and I begin with what are called 
the five books of Moses, Genesis^ JSxodttSy Leviticus, Ifum- 
herSy and Deuteronomy, My intention is to show that those 
books are spurious, and that Moses is not the author of 
them ; and still further, that they were not written in the 
lime of KoM8| nor till several hundred year* afterwardi ; 



PABVn,] THB AGS 07 BXABOV. 65 

that they are no other than an attempted history of the 
life of Moses, and of the times in whicn he is said to have 
lived, and also of the times prior thereto, written by some 
vezy ignorant and stupid pretenders to authorship, several 
hundred years after the death of Moses, as men now write 
histories of things that happened, or are supposed to have 
happened, several hundred or several thousand years ago. 

The evidence that I shall produce in this case is from the 
books themselves, and I will confine myself to this evidence 
only. Were I to refer for proof to any of the ancient 
authors whom the advocates of the Bible call profane authors, 
they would controvert that authority as I controvert theirs; 
I will, therefore, meet them on their own ground, and oppose 
them with their own weapon, the Bible. 

In the first place, there is no afl5rmative evidence that 
Moses is the author of those books; and that he is the author 
is altogether an unfounded opinion, got abroad nobody knows 
how. The style and manner in which those books are writ- 
ten give no room to believe, or even to suppose, they were 
written by Moses; for it is altogether the style and manner 
of another person speaking of Moses. In Exodus, Leviti- 
cus and Numbers, (for everything in Genesis is prior to the 
times of Moses, and not the least allusion is made to him 
therein,) the whole, I say, of these books is in the third per- 
son; it is always, the Lord said unto Moses, or Moses said 
unto the JJord/ or Moses said unto the people, or the people 
said unto Moses,* and this is the style and manner that his- 
torians use in speaking of the person whose lives and actions 
they are writing. It may be said that a man may speak of 
himself in the third person, and, therefore, it may be sup- 
posed that Moses did; but supposition proves nothing, and, 
if the advocates for the belief that Moses wrote those books 
himself have nothing better to advance than supposition, 
they may as well be silent. 

But, granting the grammatical right that Moses might 
speak of himself in the third person, because any man might 
speak of himself in that manner, it cannot be admitted as a 
fact in those books that it is Moses who speaks without ren- 
dering Moses truly ridiculous and absurd. For example, 
Numbers, chap, xii., ver. 3: ^Kow the man Moses toas very 
meek, above all men which were on the face of the earihJ* 
If Moses said this of himself, instead of being the meekest 



$$ VKE AGE 07 KBUBOH. [pAXT IL 

rf men he was one of the most rain and arrogant of cos- 
oombs; and the advocates for those books may now take 
which side they please, for both sides are against them; ii 
Moses was not the author, the books are without authority; 
and if he was the author, the author was without credit, be- 
cause to boast of meekness is the reverse of meekness, and is 
a lie in sentiment 

In Deuteronomy, the style and manner of writing marks 
more evidently than in the former books that Moses is not 
the writer. The manner here used is dramatical: the writer 
opens the subject by a short introductory discourse, and then 
introduces Moses in the act of speaking, and, when he has 
made Moses finish his harangue, he (the writer) resumes his 
own part, and speaks till he brings Moses forward again, and 
at last closes the scene with an account of the death, funeral 
and character of Moses. 

This interchange of speakers occur* four times in this 
book: from the first verse of the first chapter to the end of 
the fifth verse it is the writer who speaks; he then introduces 
Moses as in the act of making his hai'angue, and this con- 
tinues to the end of the fortieth verse of the fourth chapter; 
here the writer drops Moses, and speaks historically of what 
was done in consequence of what Moses, when living, is sup- 
posed to have said, and which the writer has dramatically 
rehearsed. 

The writer opens the subject again in the first verse of 
the fifth chapter, though it is only by saying that Moses 
called the people of Israel together; he then introduces 
Moses as before, and continues him, as in the act of speak- 
ing, to the end of the 26th chapter. He does the same 
thing at the beginning of the 27tn chapter; and continues 
Moses, as in the act of speaking, to the end of the 28th 
chapter. At the 29th chapter the writer speaks again, 
through the whole of the first verse and the first line of the 
second verse, where he introduces Moses for the last time, 
and continues him, as in the act of speaking, to the end of 
the 33d chapter. 

The writer having now finished the rehearsal on the part 
of Moses, comes forward and speaks through the whole of 
the last chapter. He begins by telling the reader that Moses 
went up to the top of Pisgah; that he saw from thence the 
land which (the writei' aays) had been promised to Abraham, 



PA19XI.] TRS AOa OF SSA80V. 67 

Isaac and Jaoob; that be, Moses, died there, in the land <^ 
Moab, but that no man knoweth of his sepuloher unto this 
day— that is, unto the time iu which the writer liyed who 
wrote the book of Deuteronomy. The writer then tells ns 
that Moses was 110 years of age when he died; that his ey6 
was not dim, nor his natural force abated; and he concludet 
by saying that there arose not a prophet titice in Israel like 
unto Moses, whom, says this anonymous writer, the Lord 
knew face to face. 

Having thus shown, as far as grammatical evidence 
applies, that Moses was not the writer of those books, I will, 
after making a few observations on the inconsistencies of 
the writer of the book of Deuteronomy, proceed to show, 
from the historical and chronological evidence contained in 
those books, that Moses, was not., because he could not ^ 
the writer of them; and consequently, that there is no 
authority for believing, that the inhuman and horrid butch- 
eries of men, women, and children, told in those books, were 
dqne, as those books say they were, at the command of God. 
It^a duty incumbent on every true Deist, that he vindicate 
the moral justice of God against the calumnies of the Bible. 

The writer of the book of Deuteronomy, whoever he 
was, (for it is an anonymous work,) is obscure, and also in 
contradiction with himself, in the account he has given of 
Moses. 

After telling that Moses went to the top of Pisgah (and it 
does not appear from any account that he ever came down 
again^ he tells us, that Moses died there in the land of Moab, 
and tnat he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab; but 
as there is no antecedent to the pronoun he, there is no 
knowing who he was that did bury him. If the writer meant 
that he (God) buried him, how should he (the writer) know 
it? or why should we (the readers) believe him? since we 
know not who the venter was that tells us so, for certainly 
Moses could not himself tell where he was buried. 

The writer also tells us, that no man knoweth where the 
sepulcher of Moses is unto this day,, meaning the time in 
which this writer lived; how then should he know that Moses 
was buried in a valley in the land of Moab? for as the writer 
lived long after the time of Moses, as is evident from his 
using the expression of unto this day, meaning a great length 
•I time after the death of Moses, he certainly was not at lug 



i9 THB IlQM of KJUmOM. [PABt 21. 

funeral; and on the other hand, it is impossible that Mo^es 
himself could say, that no man knoweth where the sepidcher 
i$ unto thi* day. To make Moses the speaker would be an 
improvement on the play of a child that hides himself imd 
eries, Nobody can find me; nobody can find Moses. 

This writer has nowhere told us how he came by tne^ 
speeches! which he has put into the mouth of Moses to speaK:, 
and, therefore, we have a right to conclude, that he either 
composed them himself, or wrote them from oral tradition. 
One or the other of these is the more probable, since he Las 
^ven, in the fifth chapter, a table of commandments, in 
which that called the fourth commandment is different from 
the fourth commandment in the twentieth chapter of Exodus. 
In that of Exodus, the reason given for keeping the seventh 
day is, "because (says the commandment) God made the 
heavens and earth in six days, and rested on the seventh;" 
but in that of Deuteronomy, the reason given is, that it was 
the day on which the children of Isral came out of Egypt, 
and therefore^ says this commandment, the Lord thy God 
commanded thee to keep the sabbath-day. This makes no 
mention of the creation, nor that of the coming out of Egypt. 
There are also many things given as laws of Moses in this 
book, that are not to be found in any of the other books; 
among which is that inhuman and brutal law, chap. xxi. ver. 
18, 19, 20, 21, which authorizes parents, the father and the 
mother, to bring their own children to have them stoned to 
death for what it is pleased to call stubbornness. But priests 
have always been fond of preaching up Deuteronomy, for 
Deuteronomy preaches up tithes; and it is from this book, chap. 
XXV. ver. 4, they have taken the phrase, and applied it to 
tithing, that thou §halt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth 
out the corn/ and that this might not escape observation, 
they have noted it in the table of contents at the head of the 
chapter, though it is only a single verse of less than two 
lines. 01 priests I priests! ye are vrilling to be compared to 
an ox, for the sake of tithes. Though it is impossible for ua 
to know identically who the writer of Deuteronomy was, it 
is not difficult to discover him professionally, that he was 
some Jewish priest, who lived, as I shall show in the course 
of this work, at least three hundred and fifty years after the 
time of Moses. 

I ooiae now to speak of the historioal and ohronologioal 



yaistil] thb a&b or kxason. 61 

evidence. The chronology that 1 »hail use is the Bible 
chronology; for I mean not to go out of the Bible for 
evidence of anything, but to make the Bible itself prove 
historically and chronologically, that Moses is not the 
author of the books ascribed to him. It is, therefore, 
proper that I inform the reader, (such an one at least as 
may not have the opportunity of knowing it,) that in the 
larger Bibles, and also in some smaller ones, there ii a 
series of chronology printed in the margin of every page, 
for the purpose of showing how long the historical matters 
stated in each page happened, or are supposed to have hap- 
pened, before Christ, and, consequently, the distance of time 
between one historical circumstance and another. 

I began with the book of Genesis. In the 14:th chapter 
of Genesis, the writer gives an account of Lot being taken 
prisoner in a battle between the four kings against five, and 
carried off ; and that when the account of Lot being taken 
came to Abraham, he armed all his household and marched 
to rescue Lot from the captors ; and that he pursued them 
unto Dan. (ver. 14.) 

To show in what manner this expression of pursuing them 
unto JDctn applies to the case in question, I will refer to twc 
circumstances, the one in America, the other in France 
The city now called New York, in America, was originally New 
Amsterdam; and the town in France, lately called Havre 
Marat, was before called Havre de Grace. New Amsterdan? 
was changed to New York in the year 1664; Havre de Grace 
to Havre Marat in 1793. Should, therefore, any writing be 
found, though without date, in which the name of New York 
should be mentioned, it would be certain evidence that such 
a writing could not have been written before, and must have 
been written after New Amsterdam was changed to New 
York, and consequently not till after the year 1664, or at least 
during the course of that year. And, in like manner, any 
dateless writing, with the name of Havre Marat, would be 
certain evidence that such a writing must have been written 
after Havre de Grace became Havre Marat, and consequently 
not till after the year 1793, or at least during the course ii 
that year. 

I now come to the application of those cases, and to show 
that there was no such place as Dan^ till many years after 
the death of Moses ; and, consequently, that Mosei oould 



TO THX MAM or XMAIOX. 

not be the -writer of the book of Grenesis, where this <^x^«<va/C 
of pursuing them unto Dan is given. | 

The place that is called Dan in the Bible was originally » 
town oi the Gentiles, called Laish ; and when the tribe of 
Dan seized upon this town, they changed its name to I )an, 
in commemoration of Dan, who was the father of that tnbe, 
ftnd the great grandson of Abraham. 

To establish this in proof, it is necessarr to refer {mm 
Genesis to the 18th chapter of the book called the Bcxjk of 
Judges. It is there said (ver. 27) that they (the Danite^) 
came unto LaUh to a people that were quiet and secure^ and 
they smote them with the edge of the sword (the Bible is filled 
with murder) and burned the city with fire : and they built 
a city, (ver. 28,) and dwelt therein, and they called the nams 
qf the city Dan^ (\fter the name of Dan, their father, }iowbeii 
th4 name of the city was Laish at the firsL 

This account of the Danites taking possession of Laish i 
and changing it to Dan, is placed in the Book of Judges im- 1 1 
mediately after the death of Samson. The death of Sara> {i 
son is said to have happened 1120 years before Christ, and I 
that of Moses 1451 before Christ, and, therefore, according jj 
to the historical arrangement, the place was not called Dan 1 1 
till 331 years after the death of Moses. 

There is a striking confusion between the historical and 
the chronological arrangement in the Book of Judges. The 
five last chapters, as they stand in the book, 17, 18, 19, 20, 
21, are put cnronologically before all the preceding chapters; 
they are made to be 28 years before the 16th chapter, 266 
before the 15th, 245 before the 13th, 195 before the 9th, 90 
before the 4th, and 15 years before the first chapter. This 
idiows the uncertain and fabulous state of the Bible. Ac- 
cording to the chronological arrangement, the taking of Laish 
and giving it the name of Dan, is made to be 20 years after 
the death of Joshua, who was the successor of Moses; and 
by the historical order as it stands in the book, it is made 
to be 306 years after the death of Joshua, and 331 after 
that of Moses ; but they both exclude Moses from being the 
writer of Genesis because, according to either of the state- 
ments, no such place as Dan existed in the time of Mosei ; 
and therefore, the writer of Genesis must have been sc»ne 

E)rson who lived after the town of Laish. bad the name oi 
ML ; And who that person was nobody knowi ; ftad ooq* 



fAKTIL] THX AGS OY XKABOJI. Tl 

•equently the Book of Genesis is anonjmoui and without 

authority. 

I I proceed now to state another point of historic^ and 
! chronological evidence, and to show therefrom, as in the 
i , preceding case, that Moses is not the author of the Book of 
Genesis. 

In the 36th chapter of Genesis there is given a genealogy 
of the sons and descendants of Esau, who are called Edom- 
ites, and also a list, by name, of the kings of Edom ; in enu- 
merating of which, it is said, verse 31, ^^ And t/use are the 
\iinngs that reigned in ^Jdom, hrfore there reigned any king 
lOver the children of IsraeV* 

I Now, were any dateless vmtings to be found, in which, 
ttspeaking of any past events, the writer should say, these 
[things happened before there was any Congress in America, 
or before there was any Convention in France; it would be 
evidence that such writings could not have been vmtten 
before, and could only be written after there was a Congress 
in America, or a Convention in France, as the case might 
be ; and, consequently, that it could not be written by any 
person who died before there was a Congress in the one coun- 
try, or a Convention in the other. 

Nothing is more frequent, as well in history as in conver- 
sation, than to refer to a fact in the room of a date : it is 
most natural so to do, because a fact fixes itself in the mem- 
iory better than a date ; secondly, because the fact includes 
tthe date, and serves to excite two ideas at once ; and this 
[manner of speaking by circumstances implies as positively 
that the fact alluded to is pa^t^ as if it was so expressed. 
When a person speaking upon any matter, says. It was 
before I was married, or before my son was born, or before 
!I went to America, or before I went to France, it is absolute- 
ly understood, and intended to be understood, that he has 
been married, that he has had a son, that he has been in 
America, or been in France. Language does not admit of 
using this mode of expression in any other sense ; and 
whenever such an expression is found anywhere, it can only 
be understood in the sense in which only it could have been 
used. 

The passage, therefore, that I have quoted — ^** that these 
are the kings that reigned in Edom, before there reigned 
,jny king over the children of Israel," oould only have been 



i i 



71 ns AAx or bx^sok [rAxr n. 

written after the first king began to reign oyer them ; and, 
consequently, that the Book of Genesis, so far from having 
been wiiuen by Moses, could not have been written till the 
time of Saul at least. This is the positive sense of the pas- 
sage ; but the expression, any king, implies more kings than 
one, at least it implies two, and this will carry it to the 
time of David; and, if taken in a general sense, it carries 
itself through all the time of the Jewish monarchy. 

Had we met with this verse in any part of the Bible that 
professed to have been written after kings began to reign in 
Israel, it would have been impossible not to have seen the 
application of it. It happens then that this is the case ; the 
two books of Chronicles, which gave a history of all the 
kings of Israel, are professedly^ as well as in fact, written 
after the Jewish monarchy began ; and this verse that I have 
quoted, and all the remaining verses of the 36 th chapter of 
Genesis, are, word for word, in the first chapter of Chronicles, 
beginning at the 4:3d verse. 

It was with consistency that the writer of the Chronicles 
could say, as he has said, 1st Chron. chap. i. ver. 43, TJiest 
are the kings thai reigned in Edom^ h^ort there reigned 
any king over the children of Israel, because he was going 
to give, and has given, a list of the kings that had reigned 
In Israel ; but as it is impossible that the same expression 
could have been used before that period, it is as certain as 
anything can be proved from historical language, that this 
part of Genesis is taken from Chronicles, and that Genesis 
IS not so old as Chronicles, and probably not so old as the 
book of Homer, or as JEsop's Fables, admitting Homer to 
have been, as the tables of chronology state, contemporary 
with David or Solomon, and iEsop to have lived about the 
end of the Jewish monarchy. 

Take away from Genesis the belief that Moses was the 
author, on which only the strange belief that it is the word 
of (iod has stood, and there remains nothing of Genesis but 
an anonymous book of stories, fables, and traditionary or 
invented absurdities, or of downright lies. The story of 
Eve and the serpent, and of Noah and his ark, drops to a 
level with the Arabian Tales, without the merit of being 
entertaining ; and the account of men living to eight and 
nine hundred years becomes as fabulous ft! the immortali^ 
cK tiie giants of the Mythology. 



KAJBTn.] na ass or bxasov. Tt 

Besides, the character of Moses, as stated in the Bible, ii 
the most horrid that can be imagined. K those accounts be 
true, he was the wretch that first began and carried on wars 
on the score, or on the pretense, of religion ; and under that 
mask, or that infatuation, committed the most unexampled 
atrocities that are to be found in the history of any nation, 
of which I will state only one instance. 

When the Jewish army returned from one of their mur- 
dering and plundering excursions, the account goes on a& 
follows. Numbers, chap. xxxi. rer. 13 : 

" And Moses, and Eleazer the priest, and all the princes 
of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the 
camp ; and Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, 
with the captains over thousands, and captains over hun- 
dreds, which came from the battle ; and Moses said unto 
them, llav€ ye saved all the xoomen alive? behold, these 
caused the children of Israel, through the council of Balaam, 
to commit trespass against the Lord, in the matter of Peor, 
and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord. 
Now, therefore, kill every male among the little ones^ and 
kill every woman that hath known a man by lying with him; 
hut all the women-children that have not known a man by 
lying with him keep alive for yourselves. 

Among the detestable villains that in any period of the 
world have disgraced the name of man, it is impossible to 
find a greater than Moses, if this account be true. Here is 
an order to butcher the boys, to massacre the mothers, and 
debauch the daughters. 

Let any mother put hers^H in the situation of those 
mothers ; one child mardered,alEV©i:>ter destined to violation, 
and herself in the hands of an executioner ; let any daugh- 
ter put herself in the situation of those daughters, destined 
as a prey to the murderers of a mother and a brother, and 
what will be their feelings? It is in vain that we attempt 
to impose upon nature, for nature will have her course, and 
the religion that tortures all her social ties is a false reli- 
gion. 

After this detestable order follows an account of the 
plunder taken, and the manner of dividing it ; and here it 
IS that the profaneness of priestly hypocrisy increases the 
catalogue of crimes. Verse 37, " And the Lord** tribute of 
the theep waf six hundred and three score and fifteen ; and 



74 TKB Asm OF mxAaoM. [pastil 

the beerei was tkirtj and six thousand, of which the X/orcT^ 
tribute was threescore and twelve ; and the asses were 
thirty thousand, of which the Lord's tribute was three- 
score and one ; and the persons were thirty thousand, of 
which the Lord's tribute was thirty and two.'* In short, the 
matters contained in this chapter, as well as in many other 
parts of the Bible, are too horrid for humanity to read, or 
for decency to hear ; for it appears, from the 35th verse of 
this chapter, that the number of women-children consigned 
to debauchery by the order of Moses was thirty-two uiou- 
sand. 

People in general know not what wickedness there is in 
this pretended word of God. Brought up in habits of super- 
stition, they take it for granted that the Bible is true, and 
that it is good ; they permit themselves not to doubt of it, 
and they carry the ideas they form of the benevolence of the 
Almighty to the book which they have been taught to 
believe was written by his authority. Good heavens ! it is 
quite another thing ; it is a book of lies, wickedness, and 
blasphemy ; for what can be greater blasphemy, than to 
ascribe the wickedness of man to the orders of the Al- 
mighty? 

But to return to my subject, that of showing that Moses 
is not ihe author of the books ascribed to him, and that the 
Bible is spurious. The two instances I have already given 
would be suflScient, without any additional evidence, to in- 
validate the authenticity of any book that pretended to be 
four or five hundred years more ancient than the matters it 
speaks of, or refers to, as facts ; for in the case of punuing 
them unto Dan^ and of the kings that reigned over the chil- 
dren of Israel, not even the flimsy pretense of prophecy 
can be pleaded. The expressions are in the preter tense, 
and it would be downright idiotism to say that a man could 
prophesy in the preter tense. 

But there are many other passages scattered throughout 
those books that unite in the same point of evidence. It is 
said in Exodus, (another of the books ascribed to Moses,) 
chap, xvi., verse 34, " And the children of Israel did eat man- 
na until they came to a land inhabited , they did eat manna 
until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan, 

Whether the children of Israel ate manna or not, or what 
^Msma waa, or whethar it wag anything more than a kind oi 



FAXT n.] THB ▲«> OW XKAIOV* tS 

fbngas or small mushroom, or other yegetable «al>&taiioe 

oommon to that part of the country, makes nothing to my 
argument; all that I mean to show is, that it is not Moses that 
could write this account, because the account extends itself 
beyond the life and time of Moses. Moses, according to the 
Bible, (but it is such a book of lies and contradictions there 
is no knowing which part to believe, or whether any,) dies 
in the wilderness, and never came upon the borders of the 
land of Canaan ; and, consequently, it could not be he that 
said what the children of Israel did, or what they ate when 
they came there. This account of eating manna, which they 
tell us was written by Moses, extends itself to the time of 
Joshua, the successor of Moses, as appears by the account 
given in the book of Joshua, after the children of Israel had 

{)assed the river Jordan, and came unto the borders of the 
and of Canaan. Joshua, chap. v. verse 12. " And the man- 
f%a ceased on the morrow^ after they had eaten of the old corn 
of the land / neither had the children of Israel manna any 
morey hut they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan 
that year.*"* 

But a more remarkable instance than this occurs in Deu- 
teronomy ; which, while it shows that Moses could not be 
the writer of that book, shows also the fabulous notions that 
prevailed at that time about giants. In the third chapter of 
Deuteronomy, among the conquests said to be made by 
Moses, is an account of the talang of Og, king of Bashan, 
ver. 11: " For only Og, king of Bashan, remained of the race 
of giants; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it 
not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon ? nine cubits was 
the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after 
the cubit of a man." A cubit is 1 foot 9-8881000ths inches; 
the length, therefore, of the bed was 16 feet 4 inches, and 
the breadth 7 feet 4 inches; thus much for this giant's bed. 
Now for the historical part, which, though the evidence is 
not so direct and positive, as in the former cases, it is never- 
theless very presumable and corroborating evidence, and is 
better than the best evidence on the contrary side. 

The writer, by way of proving the existence of this giant, 
refers to his bed, as an ancient relic, and says, is it not in 
Rabbath (or Rabbah) of the children of Ammon ? meaning 
that it is; for such is frequently the Bible method of affirm- 
ing a thing. But it oould not be Moses that s&id this, beoAi;iii!» 



76 TSS AOB OF BKAfiOM. [PAXT IL 

Moses ooiild know nothing about Kabbah, nor of what was in it. 
Rabbah was not a city belonging to this giant king, nor was 
it one of the cities that Moses took. The knowledge, there- 
fore, that this bed was at Rabbah, and of the particulars of 
its dimensions, must be referred to the time when Rabbah 
was taken, and this was not till four hundred years after the 
death of Moses; for which, see 2 Sam., chap, xii., ver. 26: " And 
Joab (David's general) fought against Hahbah of the chil- 
dren of Ammon, and took the royal city." 

As I am not undertaking to point out all the contradic- 
tions in time, place and circumstance, that abound in the 
books ascribed to Moses, and which prove to a demonstration 
that those books could not be written by Moses, nor in the 
time of Moses, I proceed to the book of Joshua, and to show 
that Joshua is not the author of that book, and that it is 
anonymous and without authority. The evidence I shall 
produce is contained in the book itself ; I will not go out of 
the Bible for proof against the supposed authenticity of the 
Bible. False testimony is always good against itself. 

Joshua, according to the first chapter of Joshua, was the 
immediate successor of Moses ; he was, moreover, a military 
man, which Moses wai not, and he continued as chief of the 
people of Isjael 25 years ; that is, from the time Moses died, 
which, according to the Bible chronology, was 1451 years 
before Christ, until 1426 years before Christ, when, accord- 
ing to the same chronology, Joshua died. If, therefore, we 
find in this book, said to have been written by Joshua, refer- 
ence to /acts dans after the death of Joshua, it is evidence 
tiiat Joshua could not be the author ; and also that the book 
could not have been written till after the time of the latest 
fact which it records. As to the character of the book, it is 
horrid ; it is a military history of rapine and murder, as 
savage and brutal as those recorded of his predecessor in 
villainy and hypocrisy, Moses ; and the blasphemy consists, 
as in the former books, in ascribing those deeds to the order 
of the Almighty. 

In the first place, the book of Joshua, as is the case in 
the preceding books, is written in the third person ; it is the 
historian of Joshua that speaks, for it would have been ab- 
surd and vain-glorious that Joshua should say of himself, as 
is said of him in the last verse of the sixth chapter, that 
•*Am fame woe noised throughout all the country, I now 
eoma man xmmddiatelj to the proof. 



rABT tL] the aob of bsaboh. 77 



In the 24th chapter, ver. 31, it- is said, " that Israel served 
the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the day9 qf th$ 
slders that overlived tToshua." Now, in the name of com- 
mon sense, can it be Joshua that relates what people had 
done after he was dead ? This account must not only have 
been wriiten by some historian that lived after Joshua, but 
that lived also after the elders that outlived Joshua. 

There are several passages of a general meaning with 
respect to time, scattered throughout the book of Joshua, 
that carries the time in which the book was written to a dis- 
tance from the time of Joshua, but without marking by exclu- 
sion any particular time, as in the passage above quoted. 
In that passage, the time that intervened between the death 
of Joshua and the death of the elders is excluded descrip- 
tively and absolutely, and the evidence substantiates that 
the book could not have been written till after the death oi 
the last. 

But though the passages to which I allude, and which I 
am going to quote, do not designate any particular time by 
exclusion, they imply a time far more distant from the days 
of Joshua than is contained between the death of Joshua 
and the death of the elders. Such is the passage, chap. x. 
ver. 14; where, after giving an account that the sun stood 
still upon Gibeon, and the moon in the valley of Ajalon, at 
the command of Joshua, (a tale only j&t to amuse children,) 
the passage says, " And there was no day like that, before 
it, nor after it, that the Lord hearkened to the voice of a 



man.'* 



This tale of the sun standing still upon Mount Gibeon, and 
the moon in the valley of Ajalon, is one of those fables that 
detects itself. Such a circumstance could not have happened 
without being known all over the world. One-half would 
have wondered why the sun did not rise, and the other why 
it did not set; and the tradition of it would be universal, 
whereas there is not a nation in the world that knows any- 
thing about it. But why must the moon stand still ? What 
occasion could there be for moonlight in the daytime, and 
that too while the sun shined? As a poetical figure, the 
whole is well enough; it is akin to that in the song of 
Deborah and Barak, The stars in their courses fought against 
Sisera/ but it is inferior to the figurative declaration ol 
Mahomet to the persons who came to expostulate with him 



TS TBS AOB OF KBA80B. [fAST II. 

on his going on, Wert thou, said he, to came to me with the 
tun in thy right hand and the moon in thy left^ it should not 
alter my career. For Joshua to have exceeded Mahomet, he 
should have put the sun and moon one in each pocket, and 
carried them as Guy Faux carried his dark lantern, and 
taken them out to shine as he might happen to want them. 

The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related 
that it is difficult to class them separately. One step above 
the sublime makes the ridiculous, and one step above the 
ridiculous makes the sublime again; the account, however, 
abstracted from the poetical fancy, shows the ignorance of 
Joshua, for he should have commanded the earth to have 
stood still. 

The time implied bv the expression (ifter it, that is, after 
that day, beinff put m comparison with all the time that 
passed before it, must, in order to give any expressive sig- 
nification to the passage, mean a great length of time/ — for 
example, it would have been ridiculous to have said so the 
next day, or the next week, or the next month, or the next 
year; to give, therefore, meaning to the passage, compara- 
tive with the wonder it relates, and the prior time it alludes 
to, it must mean centuries of years; less, however, than 
one would be trifling, and less than two would be barely 
admissible. 

A distant, but general time, is also expressed in the 8th 
chapter; where, after giving an account of the taking the 
city of Ai, it is said, ver. 28th, " And Joshua burned Ai, and 
made it an heap forever, a desolation unto this day/" and 
again, ver. 29, where, speaking of the king of Ai, whom 
Joshua had hanged, and buried at the entering of the gate, 
it is said, " And he raised thereon a great heap of stones, 
which remaineth unto this day," that is, unto the day or 
time in which the writer of the book of Joshua lived. And 
again, in the 10th chapter, where, after speaking of the five 
kings whom Joshua had hanged on five trees, and then 
thrown in a cave, it is said, " And he laid great stones on the 
cave's mouth, which remain unto this very day." 

In enumerating the several exploits of Joshua, and of the 
tribes, and of the places which they conquered or attempted, 
it is said, o. xv. ver. 63, '*As for the Jebusites, the inhabi- 
tants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not driro 
them out; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of 



bajkstl] thb Ada ov asAsom 79 

Judah at JTemsrtlem wnto this day^ The question upon this 

passage is, at what time did the Jebusites and the ohildren 
of Judah dwell together at Jerusalem? As this matter 
occurs again in the first chapter of Judges, I shall reserve mj 
observations till I come to that part. 

Having thus shown from the book of Joshua itself^ without 
any auxiliary evidence whatever, that Joshua ia not the 
author of that book, and that it is anonymous, and conse- 
quently without authority, I proceed, as before-mentioned, 
to the book of Judges. 

The book of Judges is anonymous on the face of it; and, 
therefore, even the pretense is wanting to call it the word 
of God; it has not so much as a nominal voucher; it is alto- 
gether fatherless. 

This book begins with the same expression as the book 
of Joshua. That of Joshua begins, chap. i. ver. 1, I^ovs 
after the death of Moses^ etc., and this of tne Judges begins, 
N'ow after the death of Joshua, etc. This, and the simi- 
larity of style between the two books, indicate that they 
are the work of the same author, but who he was, is alto- 
gether unknown; the only point that the book proves is, 
that the author lived long after the time of Joshua; for 
though it begins as if it followed immediately after his 
death, the second chapter is an epitome or abstract of the 
whole book, which, according to the Bible chronology, extends 
its history through a space of 306 years ; that is, ifrom the 
death of Joshua, 1426 years before Christ, to the death of 
Samson, 1120 years before Christ, and only 25 years before 
Saul went to seek his father^s asses, and was made king. 
But there is good reason to believe, that it was not written 
till the time of David, at least, and that the book of Joshua 
was not written before the same time. 

In the first chapter of Judges, the writer, after announc- 
ing the death of Joshua, proceeds to tell what happened 
between the children of Judah and the native inhabitants of 
the land of Canaan. In this statement, the writer, having 
abruptly mentioned Jerusalem in the 7th verse, says imme- 
diately after, in the 8th verse, by way of explanation, " Now 
the ohildren of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and 
taken it ;" consequently this book could not have been writ- 
ten before Jerusalem had been taken. The reader will reool- 
leoi the quotatioo I have just before made from the 15tli 



80 THS A6B OF REASOH. [PABT O. 

chapter of Joshua, ver. 63, where it said that the Jehusit€9 
dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem at this day . 
meaning the time when the book of Joshua was written. 

The evidence I have already produced, to prove that the 
books I have hitherto treated of were not written bv the 
persons to whom they are ascribed, nor till many years after 
their death, if such persons ever lived, is already so abundant, 
that I can afford to admit this passage with less weight than 
1 am entitled to draw from it. For the case is that so far as 
the Bible can be credited as an history, the city of Jerusalem 
was not taken till the time of David ; and, consequently, the 
books of Joshua, and of Judges, were not written till after 
the commencement of the reign of David, which was 370 
years after the death of Joshua. 

The name of the city, that was afterwards called Jeru- 
salem, was originally Jebus, or Jebusi, and was the capital 
of the Jebusites. The account of David's taking this city is 
given in 2 Samuel, chapter v., ver. 4, &o.; also in 1 Chron^ 
chap, xiv., ver. 4, &o. There is no mention in any part of 
the Bible that it was ever taken before, nor any account that 
favors such an opinion. It is said, either in Samuel or in 
Chronicles, that they utterly destroyed men, women^ and 
children / that they left not a toul to breathe, as is said of 
their other conquests; and the silence here observed implies 
that it was taken by capitulation, and that the Jebusites, the 
native inhabitants, continued to live in the place after it was 
taken. The account, therefore, given in Joshua that the tTebth 
sites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem at this 
day, corresponds to no other time than after the taking of 
the city by David. 

Having now shown that every book in the Bible, from 
Genesis to Judges, is without authenticity, I come to the 
book of Ruth, an idle, bungling story, foolishly told, nobody 
knows by whom, about a strolling country-girl creeping slyly 
to bed to her cousin Boaz. Pretty stuff indeed to be called 
the word of Grod 1 It is, however, one of the best books in 
the Bible, for it is free from murder and rapine. 

I come next to the two books of Samuel, and to show tiiat 
those books were not written by Samuel, nor till a great 
length of time after the death of Samuel ; and that they aro^ 
fike ail the former books, anonymous and without authority. 

T^ b# oonYinoed that these books have been wiitten mim 



fAXrm} THE A&X 07 BEASOH. SI 

later than the time of Samuel, and, consequently, not by him, 
it is only necessary to read the account which the writer givei 
of Saul going to seek his father's asses, and of his interview 
with Samuel, of whom Saul went to inquire about those lost 
asses, as foolish people now-a-days go to a conjurer to inquire 
after lost things. 

The writer, m relating this story of Saul, Samuel and the 
asses, does not tell it as a thing that had just then happened, 
but aa an ancient story in the time this writer lived / for he 
tells it in the language or terms used at the time that /5am- 
ttel lived, which obliges the writer to explain the story in the 
terms or language used in the time the writer lived. 

Samuel, in the account given of him, in the first of those 
books, chap, ix., is called the seer/ and it is by this term that 
Saul inquires after him, ver. 11, " And as they (Saul and his 
servant) went up the hill to the city, they found young 
maidens going out to draw water ; and they said unto them, 
fs the seer here /'' Saul then went according to the direc- 
tion of these maidens, and met Samuel without knowing him, 
and said unto him, ver. 18, " Tell me, I pray thee, where the 
seer*s house is f and Samuel answered Saul and said, I cm the 
seerJ*^ 

As the writer of the book of Samuel relates these ques- 
tions and answers, in the language or manner of speaking 
used in the time they are said to have been spoken ; and as 
that manner of speaking was out of use when this author 
wrote, he found it necessary, in order to make the story 
understood, to explain the terms in which these qr^estions 
and answers are spoken ; and he does this in the 9th verse, 
where he says, ^'•before-time, in Israel, when a man went 
to inquire of God, thus he spake. Come, let us go to the 
seer ; for he that is now called a prophet, was before-time 
called a seer.** This proves, as I have before said, that this 
story of Saul, Samuel and the asses, was an ancient story at 
the time the book of Samuel was written, and consequently 
Samuel did not write it, and that that book was without 
authenticity. 

But if we go further into those books the evidence is still 
more positive that Samuel is not the writer of them : for 
they relate things that did not happen till several years after 
Um deaUk of SamueL Samuel died before Saul ; ior th« Isl 



¥HS A&S 09 BEAlSOir. [PUTT U, 

Samuel, ohap. xxviii. tells, that Saul, and the witoh of Endor 
conjured Samuel up after he was dead ; yet the history of 
the matters contained in those books is extended through 
the remaining part of Saul's life, and to the latter end of the 
life of David, who succeeded Saul. The account of the 
death and burial of Samuel (a thing which he could not 
write himself) is related in the 25th chapter of the first book 
of Samuel ; and the chronology affixed to this chapter makes 
this to be 1060 years before Christ ; yet the history of this 
fint book is bought down to 1056 years before Christ ; that 
is, till the death of Saul, which was not till four years after 
the death of Samuel. 

The second book of Samuel begins with an account oi 
things that did not happen till four years after Samuel was 
dead ; for it begins with the reign of David, who suc- 
ceeded Saul, and it goes on to the end of David's reign, which 
was forty-three years after the death of Samuel ; and, there- 
fore, the books are in themselves positive evidence that they 
were not written by Samuel. 

I have now gone through all the books in the first part of 
the Bible, to which the names of persons are affixed, as be- 
ing the authors of those book, and which the church, styling 
itself the Christian church, have imposed upon the world as 
the writings of Moses, Joshua and Samuel ; and I have de- 
tected and proved the falsehood of this imposition. And 
now, ye priests, of every description, who have preached and 
written against the former part of the Age of Iteason^ what 
have ye to say? Will ye, with all this mass of evidence 
against you, and staring you in the face, still have the assur- 
ance to march into your pulpits, and continue to impose 
these books on your congregations, as the works of inspired 
ptnmeny and the word of God, when it is as evident as dem- 
onstration can make tmth appear, that the persons who, ye 
say, are the authors, are not the authors, and that ye know 
j not who the authors are? What shadow of pretence have ye 
J now to produce for continuing the blasphemous fraud? 
' What have ye still to offer against the pure and moral relig- 
ion of Deism, in support of your system of falsehood, idols- 
try and pretended revelation? Had the cruel and murder- 
ous orders, with which the Bible is filled, and the number- 
less torturing executions of men, women, and children, in 
consequence of those orders, been ascribed to some Mend, 



WAMtm] tMM A«B OF SSASOV. 

whose memory you revered, you would have glowed witb 
satisfaction at detecting the falsehood of the charge, and 
gloried in defending his injured fame. It is because ye are 
sunk in the cruelty of superstition, or feel no interest m the 
honor of your Creator, that ye listen to the horrid tales of 
the Bible, or hear them with callous indifference. The evi- 
dence I have produced, and shall still produce in the course 
of this work, to prove that the Bible is without authority, 
will, whilst it woimds the stubbornness of a priest, relieve 
and tranquilize the minds of millions ; it will free them from 
all those hard thoughts of the Almighty which priestcraft 
and the Bible had infused into their minds, and which stood 
in everlasting opposition to all their ideas of hi» moral jus- 
tice and benevolence. 

I come now to the two books of Eongs, and the two booki 
of Chronicles. Those books are altogether historical, and 
are chiefly confined to the lives and actions of the Jewish 
kings, who in general were a parcel of rascals; but these aire 
matters with which we have no more concern, than we have 
with the Roman emperors, or Homer's account of the Trojan 
war. Besides which, as those works are anonymous, and as 
we know nothing of the writer, or of his character, it is im- 
possible for us to know what degree of credit to give to the 
matters related therein. Like all other ancient histories, 
they appear to be a jumble of fable and fact, and of probable 
ana of improbable things; but which, distance of time and 
place, and change of circumstances in the world, have ren- 
dered obsolete and iminteresting. 

The chief use I shall make of those books will be that of 
comparing them with each other, and with other parts of the 
Bible, to show the confusion, contradiction ana cruelty in 
this pretended word of God. 

The first book of Kmgs begins with the reign of Solomon, 
which, according to the Bible chronology, was 1015 years be- 
fore Christ; and the second book ends 588 years before Christ, 
being a little after the reign of Zedekiah, whom Nebuchad- 
nezzar, after taking Jerusalem and conquering the Jews, car- 
ried captive to Babylon. The two books include a space of 
i27 years. 

The two books of Chronicles are a history of the same 
times, and, in general, of the same persons, by anoUier 
Mitbor; for it would be absurd to suppose that the sene 



14 TSX ▲ox 09 IIBAIOS; [TAXtTL 

Mithor wrote the Wstoiy twice over. The first book of 
Chronicles (after giving the genealogy from Adam to Saul, 
which takes up the first nine chapters) begins with the reign 
of David; and the last book ends as in the last book of 
Kings, soon after the reiga of Zedekiah, about 688 years 
before Christ. The two last veraes of the last chapter bring 
the history 52 years more forward, that is, to 536. But these 
verses do not belong to the book, as I shall show when I 
come to speak of the book of Ezra. 

The two books of Kings, besides the history of Saul, 
David and Solomon, who reigned over all Israel, contain an 
abstract of the lives of seventeen kings and one queen, who 
are styled Kings of Judah, and of nineteen, who are styled 
Kinffl of Israel; for the Jewish nation, immediately on the 
death of Solomon, split into two parties, who chose separate 
kings, and who carried on most rancorous wars against each 
other. 

Those two books are little more than a history of assassina- 
tions, treachery and wars. The cruelties that the Jews had 
accustomed themselves to practice on the Canaanites, whose 
country thev had savagely invaded under a pretended 
gift from Grod, they afterwards practiced as furiously on 
each other. Scarcely half their kings died a natural death, 
and, in some instances, whole families were destroyed to 
secure possession to the successor, who, after a few years, 
and Sometimes only a few months, or less, sharea the 
same fate. In the tenth chapter of the second book of 
Kings an account is given of two baskets full of chil- 
dren's heads, seventy m number, being exposed at the 
entrance of the city; they were the children of Ahab, and 
were murdered by the orders of Jehu, whom Elisha, the . 

Eretended man of Grod, bad anointed to be king over 
»rael, on puipose to commit this bloody deed, and assas- 
sinate his predecessor. And in the account of the reign of 
Manaham, one of the kings of Israel who had murdered 
Shallum, who had reigned but one month, it is said. 
Kings, chap, xv., ver. 16, that Manaham smote the city of 
Tiphsah, because they opened not the city to him, and 
all the women that were therein that were with child they 
ripped up. 

Could we permit ourselves to suppose that the Almighty 
would distingaish any nation of peoplo by the name of Mie 



paktil] thb Aex ow mtkmn. S6 

eKosen people, we must suppose that people to hare been 
an example to all the rest of the world of the purest piety 
and humanity, and not suoh a nation of ruffians and cut> 
throats as the ancient Jews were; a people who, corrupted 
by and copying after such monsters and impostors as Moses \ 
and Aaron, Joshua, Samuel and David, had distinguished \ 
themselves above all others, on the face of the known earth, ^ 
for barbarity and wickedness. If we will not stubbornly 
shut our eyes and steel our hearts, it is impossible not to 
see, in spit« of all that lon^-established superstition im- 
poses upon the mind, that tnat flattering appellation of 
JETis chosen people is no other than a lie the priests and 
leaders of the Jews had invented, to cover the baseness of 
their own characters, and which Chrijitian priests, some- 
times as corrupt and often as cruel, have professed to 
believe. 

The two books of Chronicles are a repetition of the same 
crimes; but the history is broken in several places by the 
author leaving out the reign of some of their kings; and 
in this, as well as in that of Kings, there is such a frequent 
transition from kings of Judah to kings of Israel, and from 
kings of Israel to kings of Judah, that the narrative is 
obscure in the reading. In the same book the history some- 
times contradicts itself ; for example, in the second book of 
Kings, chap, i., ver. 8, we are told, but in rather ambi^ous 
terms, that, after the death of Ahaziah, King of Israel, 
Jehoram, or Joram, (who was of the house of Ahab,) 
reigned in his stead in the second year of Jehoram, or 
Joram, son of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah; and in chap, 
viii., ver. 16, of the same book it is said, and in the J0h 
year of Joram, the son of Ahab, king of Israel, Jehosha- 
phat being then king of Judah, began to reign; that is, one 
chapter says Joram of Judah began to reign in the second 
year of Joram of Israel; and the other chapter says, that 
Joram of Israel began to reign in the Jifth year of Joram of 
Judah. 

Several of the most extraordinary matters related in one 
history, as having happened during the reign of such and 
suoh of their kings, are not to be found m the other, in 
relating the reign of the same king; for example, the two 
first rival kings, after the death of Solomon, were Ilehoboam 
and Jeroboam; and in 1 Kings, chap. zii. and xiiLi, an 



86 THX AftX OF BSABOX. [VAXV H. 

Aooount is giyen of Jeroboam making an offering of burnt 
incense, and that a man who is there called a man of Grod, 
cried out against the altar, chap. xiii. ver. 2: " O altar, altar, 
thus saith the Lord: Behold, a child shall be bom to the 
house of David, Josiah by name, and upon thee shall he offer 
the priests of the high places, and burn incense upon thee, 
and men's bones shall be burnt upon thee." Verse 4: **And 
it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the 
man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that 
he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, iay hold on 
him. And his hand, which he put out against him, dried up^ §o 
that he could not pull it again to himy 

One would think that such an extraordinary case as this, 
(which is spoken of as a judgment,) happening to the chief 
of one of the parties, and that at the first moment of the 
separation of the Israelites into two nations, would, if it had 
been true, hare been recorded in both histories. But though 
men, in latter times, have believed all that the prophets hav€ 
said unto thetn^ it does not appear these prophets or histori- 
ans believed each other; they knew each other too well. 

A long account also is given in Kings about Elijah. It 
runs through several chapters, and concludes with telling, 2 
Kings, chap. ii. ver. 11: "And it came to pass as they 
(Elijah and Elisha) still went on, and talked, that, behold, 
there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire^ and 
parted them both asunder, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind 
into heaven.'*'* Hum! this the author of Chronicles, miracu- 
lous as the story is, makes no mention of, though he men- 
tions Elijah by name; neither does he say anything of the 
Btory related in the second chapter of the same book of 
Kings, of a parcel of children calling Elisha bald head^ bald 
head/ and that this man of God, ver. 24, " turned back, and 
looked upon them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord, 
and there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and 
tore forty and two children of them." He also passes over 
in silence the story told, 2 Kings, chap, xiii., that when they 
were burying a man in the sepulchre, where Elisha had been 
buried, it happened that the dead man, as they were 
letting him down, (ver. 21,) " touched the bones of Elisha, 
and he (the dead man) revived, and stood upon his feet^ 
The story does not tell us whether they buried the man 
notwithstanding he revived and stood upon his feet, or drew 



n.] TBX Ata OV BSAAO& 8T 

him up again. Upon all these stories the writer of Chrcmi- 
cles is as silent as any writer of the present day, who did 
not choose to be accused of lying-i or at least of romancing, 
would be about stories of the same kind. 

But, however these two historians may differ from each 
other, with respect to the tales related by either, they are 
silent alike with respect to those men stylea prophets, whose 
writings fill up the latter part of the Bible, Isaiah, who 
lived m the time of Hezekiah, is mentioned in Kings, and 
again in Chronicles, when these historians are speaking of 
that reign; but except in one or two instances at most, and 
those very slightly, none of the rest are so much as spoken 
of, or even hinted at; though, according to the Bible chro- 
nology, they lived within the time those histories were 
written; some of them long before. If those prophets, as 
they are called, were men of such importance in then* day, as 
the compilers of the Bible, and priests and commentators 
have since represented them to be, how can it be accounted 
for, that not one of these histories should say anything aboat 
them? 

The history in the books of Kings and of Chronicles is 
brought forward, as I have already said, to the year 688 
before Christ; it will, therefore, be proper to examine which 
of these prophets lived before that period. 

Here follows a table of all the prophets, with the times in 
which they lived before Christ, according to the chronology 
affixed to the first chapter of each of the books of the proph- 
ets; and also of the number of years they lived before the 
books of Kings and Chronicles were written. 

This table is either not very honorable for the Bible his- 
torians, or not very honorable for the Bible prophets ; and I 
leave to priests and commentators, who are very learned in 
little things, to settle the point of etiquette between the two ; 
and to assign a reason, why the authors of Kings and Chron- 
icles have treated those prophets, whom in the former part 
of the Age of Reason^ I have considered as poets, with as 
much degrading silence as any historian of the present day 
would treat Peter Pindar. 

I have one observation more to make on the Book of 
Chronicles ; after which I shall paw on to review the remain- 
ing books of the Bible. 



8S 



THE Xam OW BXABOH. 



^FAXm. 



Tabh cf the Prophets, with the time in tehkh (hey lived brfore 
Christy and aU^ btfore the hooks qf Kings and Chronicles 
toere written. 







Yeara 


Yra. before 






Vammb, 


before 
Christ 


Eingi and 
Chronicles. 


QMSKTAnan. 




Isaiah 


760 


in 


mentioned. 




Jeremiali • 






629 


41 


mentioned oc^ Ik tlM 
last dlap. of CvMi. 




Sseklcl 






595 


T 


not mentioned. 


. 


Daniel 






807 


19 


not mentioned. 




Boeea 






785 


97 


not mentioned. 




Joel 






800 


212 


not mentioned. 




Amoa 






789 


199 


not mentioned. 




Obadlah • 






789 


199 


not mentioned* 




JonAh 






862 


S74 


see the note* 




Micah 






760 


162 


not mentioned. 




Habam 






718 


185 


not mentioned. 




Babakknk • 






•20 


88 


not mentioned. 




Zephanlah • 






680 


49 


not mentioned. 




fSSlahljSfSS 










Malachl f ^^ ^ 









• In 2 Sings, chap. zIt. ver. X, the name of Jonah is mentioned on acconat 
of the reetorat Ion of a tract of land by Jeroboam ; bnt nothlne farther is said 
ot him. Qor is any allnslon made to the book of Jonah, nor to his expedltloa to 
Idneveh, nor to his encounter with the whale. 

In my obs«ervations on the Book of Genesis, I hare 
quoted a passage from the 36th chapter, verse 31, which 
evidently refers to a time after that kings began to reign 
over the children of Israel ; and I have shown that as this 
verse is verbatim the same as in Chronicles, chap, i., verse 
43, where it stands consistently with the order of history, 
which in Genesis it does not, that the verse in Genesis, and 
a great part of the 36th chapter, have been taken from Chron- 
icles ; and that the book of Genesis, though it is placed first 
in the Bible and ascribed to Moses, has been manufactured 
by some unknown person, after the Book of Chronicles was 
written, which was not until at least eight hundred and sixty 
years after the time of Moses. 

The evidence I proceed by to substantiate this i» regular,| 
and has in it but two stages. First, as I have already stated, 
that the passage in Genesis refers itself for time to Chron- 
icles ; secondly, that the book of Chronicles, to which this 
f>assage refers itself, was not begun to be written until at 
east eight hundred and sixty years after the time of Moses. 
To prove this, we have only to look into the thirteenth veiM 



FAKT n.] TO Aaz OF BXABOX. $• 

of the third chapter of the first book of Chronicles, where 
the writer, in giving the genealogy of the desoendants of 
David, mentions Zedekiah ; and it was in the time of Zede- 
kiah, that Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem, 688 years 
before Christ, and consequently more than 860 years after 
Moses. Those who have supers titiously boasted of the anti- 
quity of the Bible, and particularly of the books ascribed to 
Moses, have done it without examination, and without any 
authority than that of one credulous man telling it to another ; 
for, so far as historical and chronological evidence applies, the 
very first book in the Bible is not so ancient as the book of 
Homer, by more than three hundred years, and is about the 
same age vdth JEsop's Fables. 

I am not contending for the morality of Homer; on the 
contrary, I think it a book of false glory ; tending to inspire 
immoral and mischievous notions of honor; and with respect 
to ^sop, though the moral is in general just, the fable is 
often cruel; and the cruelty of the fable does more injury to 
the h^art, especially in a child, than the moral does good to 
the judgment. 

Having now dismissed Kings and Chronicles, I come to 
the next in course, the book of Ezra. 

As one proof, among others, I shall produce, to show 
the disorder in which this pretended word of God, the 
Bible, has been put together, and the uncertainty of who 
the authors were, we have only to look at the three first 
verses m Ezra, and the two last in Chronicles; for by what 
kind of cutting and shuffling has it been that the three 
first verses in Ezra should be the two last verses in Chron- 
icles, or that the two last in Chronicles should be the three 
first iu Ezra? Either the authors did not know their own 
works, or the compilers did not know the authors. 

Tvo last Verses of Chroniclet. Three fir it Verses of Etra, 

Ver. 22. Now in the first year Ver. 1. Now in the first yeai 

of Cyrus, king of Persia, that the of Cyrus, king of Persia, that the 

word of the Lord, spoken by the word of the Lord, by the mouth 

mouth of Jeremiah, might be of Jeremiah, might be fulfilled, 

accomplished, the Lord stirred the Lord stirred up the spirit of 

up the spirit of Cyrus, king of Cyrus, king of Persia, tibiat he 

Persia, thai he made & procla- made a proclamation throughout 

mation throughout all his king- all his kingdom, and put it also 

dom, and put It also in writing, In writing, saying, 

ti^srij^ t. Thus saith Qjrras, king if 



90 Tn AME OT SXIBOV. [PAXT S. 



$3. Thnflsaith Ojmis,kingof Persia, The Lord Qod of heayen 
Persia, all the kingdoms of the hath given me all the kingdoms 
earth hath the Lord God of of the earth ; and he hath charg- 
heaven given me ; and he hath ed me to build him an house at 
charged me to build him an Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 
house in Jerusalem which is in 3. Who is there among yon 
Judah. Who is there amonjg of all his people? his God be 
you of his people ? the Lord his with him, and let him go up, U 
God be with him, and let him go Jerusalem^ which is in Judahy 
up. and build the house of the Lord 

Qod of Israel (he «« the Qod) vohiek 
it in JeruidUm, 

The last Terse in Chronicles is broken abruptly, and ends 
in the middle of the phrase with the word up, without signi- 
fying to what place. This abrupt break, and the appearance 
of the same verses in the different books, show, as I have 
already said, the disorder and ignorance in which the Bible 
has been put together, and that the compilers of it had no 
authority for what they were doing, nor we any authority for 
believing what they have done.* 

The only thing that has any appearance of certainly in the 
book of Ezra, is the time in which it was written, which was 

•I obseryed, as I passed along, several broken and senselMs passages ta tiio 
Bible, without thlnkins: them of consequence enough to be introduced in the body 
of the work; such as that, 1 Samuel, chap. xiii. ver. 1, where it is said, "Saai 
reigned one year ; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, Saul chose 
him tliree thousand men," etc. The first part of the verse, that Saul reigned one 
year has no sense, since it does not tell us what Saul did, nor say anything of 
what happened at the end of that one year; and it is, besides, mere absurdity to 
B*T he reigned one year, when the very next phrase says he had reigned two ; for 
If ne had reigned two, it was IraposBible not to have reigned one. 

Another instance occurs in Joshua, chap. v. where the writer tells us ft story of 
•n angel (for such the table of contents at the head of the chapter calls him) ap- 
pearing unto Joshua; and the story ends abruptly, and without any conclusion. 
The story is as follows:— Ver. 13, "And it came to pass, when Joshua was by 
Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold there stood a man over 
•gainst him with his sword drawn in his hand; and Joshua went unto him and 
sffld unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?'' Verse 14, •' And he said, 
Nay; but as the captain of the hosts of our Lord am I now come. And Joshua 
fell on his face to the earth, and did worship and said unto him. What saith my 
Lord unto his servant?" Verse 15, "And the captain of the Lord's host said 
unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou stand* 
eth is holy. And Joshua did so,*' And what then; nothing, for here the stoiy 
ends, and the chapter too. 

Either this story Is broken off In the middle, or It Is a story told by some Jewii^ 
humorist, in ridicule of Joshua's pretended mission from God; and the compilers 
of the Bible, not perceiving the design of the story, have told it as a serious mat- 
ter. As a story of humor and ridicxUe, it has a great deal of point, for it pompous- 
ly Introduces an angel in the flsure of a msn. with a drawn sword in his hand, be- 
fore whom Joshua falls on hie face to the earth, and worships, (which Is contrary 
to their second commandment;) and then, this most Important embassy froia 
heaven ends, in telling Joshua to pall off his shoe. It might &c well have toW 
hla to pull up his breeches. ^ ■, ^ *m 

It is certain, however, that the Jews did not credit everything their leaders toM 
thmn, as appears from the cavalier manner in which they speak of Mc«eB, whctt 
h* waa fone Into the mount. ** As for this Mosea," say they, ** we wot Bot what la 
I anutaa.** Xsod. tiiap. zzxii. w. L 



fabtil] 



▲es OV BBJLSOM. 



M 



immediately after the return of the Jews from the Babylon- 
iaa captivity, about 536 years before Christ. Ezra (who, 
according to the Jewish oommentators, is the same person 
as is called Esdras in the Apocrypha) was one of the per- 
sons who returned, and who, it is probable, wrote the account 
of that affair. Nehemiah, whose book follows next to Ezra, 
was another of the returned persons; and who, it is also 
probable, wrote the account of the same affair, in the book 
that bears his name. But those accounts are nothing to us, 
nor to any other persons, unless it be to the Jews, as a part 
of the history of their nation; and there is just as mucn of 
the word of God in those books as there is in any of the his- 
tories of France, or Rapin's history of England, or the history 
of any other country. 

But even in matters of historical record, neither of those 
writers are to be depended upon. In the second chapter 
of Ezra, the writer gives a list of the tribes and families, and 
of the precise number of souls of each that returned from 
Babylon to Jerusalem; and this enrollment of the persons so 
returned appears to have been one of the principal objects 
for writing the book, but in this there is an error that destroys 
the intention of the undertaking. 

The writer begins his enrollment in the following man- 
ner, chap, ii., ver. 3: "The children of Parosh, two thousand 
one hundred seventy and four." Ver. 4: " The children of 
Shephatiah, three hundred seventy and two." And in this 
manner he proceeds through all the families; and in the 64th 
verse he makes a total, and says, the whole congregation 
together waA forty and two thousand three hundred and 
three score. 



Ck«i>.ii. 




Bro't forward, 11,677 


BroH forwwdt 16,788 


Bro'tfonr'd, 18,444 


?•»•• S, 


8,178 


Ter. 1*» 


e6« 


Var. 2a» 


128 


\9t, 83, 


725 


4, 


S7i 


14. 


8^ 


24, 


42 


8< 


845 


B» 


775 


i5» 


464 


26, 


748 


86, 


8,630 


•> 


t3U 


1«» 


98 


!2» 


iSl 


M» 


973 


T, 


1*254 


n, 


88S 


w. 


isa 


87, 


1,069 


K 


M5 


!•, 


119 


S* 


82S 


M» 


1,247 


% 


760 


It, 


sa 


», 


68 


% 


1,017 


M> 


64S 


», 


86 


80, 


166 


74 


^ lU 


t28 


n, 


laa 


u. 


1,864 


41. 


128 


i% 


MO 


«* 


M 


1% 


«w 


1 


188 

888 




uH 




BiW 








8B8 




ti.4J 


8Mai 



9% m Aas ov sxamii. [fxkth. 

But, whoever will take the trouble of casting up the sey- 
eral particulars, will find that the total is but 29,818; so that 
the error is 12,543.* What certainty, then, can there be in 
the Bible for anything? 

Nehemiah, in like manner, gives a list of the returned 
families, and of the number of each family. He begins, as 
in Ezra, by saying, chap, vii., ver. 8: "The children of Pa- 
rosh, two thousand three hundred and seventy- two"; and 
80 on through all the families. The list differs in several 
of the particulars from that of Ezra. In the 66th verse, 
Nehenuah makes a total, and says, as Ezra had said: " The 
whole congregation together was forty and two thousand 
three hundred and three score." But the particulars of 
this list make a total of but ^31,089, so that the error here 
is 11,271. These writers may do well enough for Bible- 
makers, but not for anything where truth and exactness is 
necessary. The next book m course is the book of Esther. 
If Madam Esther thought it any honor to offer herself as a 
kept mistress to Ahasuerus, or as a rival to Queen Vashti, 
who had refused to come to a drunken king, in the midst 
of a drunken company, to be made a show of, (for the account 
says they had been drinking seven days, and were merry,) 
let Esther and Mordecai look to that, it is no business of 
ours — at least, it is none of mine; besides which the story 
has a great deal the appearance of being fabulous, and is 
also anonymous. I pass on to the book of Job. 

The book of Job differs in character from all the books 
we have hitherto passed over. Treachery and murder make 
no part of this book; it is the meditations of a mind strongly 
impressed with the vicissitudes of human life, and by turns 
Knking under and struggling against the pressure. It is 
a highly-wrought composition, between willing submission 
and involuntary discontent; and shows man, as he some- 
times is, more disposed to be resigned than he is capable 
of being. Patience has but a small share in the character 
of the person of whom the book treats; on the contrary, 
his grief is often impetuous, but he still endeavors to keep 
a guard upon it, and seems determined, in the midst of accu- 
mulating ills, to impose upon himself the hard duty of con- 
tentment. 

I have spoken in a respectful manner of tha book of Job 

• ParMcKtert of tk^ttmlUu/t^m iih« ••tend th^gittt tf 



FiLSff n.] ¥HS AaK OV BSAMW. 99 

in the former part of the Age of Reason^ but withoujb know- 
ing, at that time, what I have learned since; which ia that, 
from all the evidence that can be collected, the book of Job 
does not belong to the Bible. 

I have seen the opinion of two Hebrew commentator*, 
Abenezra and Spinoza, upon this subject; they both say 
that the book of Job carries no internal evidence of being 
a Hebrew book; that the genius of the composition, and 
the drama of the piece, are not Hebrew; that it has been 
translated from another lantruage into Hebrew, and that the 
author of the book wgs a (rentile; that the character rep- 
resented under the name of Satan (which is the first and 
only time this name is mentioned in the Bible) does not 
correspond to any Hebrew idea; and that the two convoca- 
tions which the Deity is supposed to have made of those 
whom the poem calls sons of God, and the familiarity which 
this supposed Satan is stated to have with the Deity, are in 
the same case. 

It may also be observed that the book shows itself to bo 
the production of a mind cultivated in science, which the 
Jews, so far from being famous for, w^ere very ignorant of, 
the allusions to objects of natural philosophy are frequent 
and strong, and are of a different cast to anything in the 
books known to be Hebrew. The astronomical names, 
Pleiades, Orion, and Arcturus, are Greek and not Hebrew 
names, and it does not appear from anything that ia to be 
found in the Bible, that the Jews knew anything of astron- 
omy, or that they studied it; they had no translation of those 
names into their own language, but adopted the names as 
they found them in the poem. 

That the Jews did translate the literary productions 
of the Gentile nations into the Hebrew language, and mix 
them with their own, is not a matter of doubt; the thirty- 
first chapter of Proverbs is an evidence of this; it is there 
said, ver. 1, The word of king Lemuel^ the prophecy which 
his mother taught him. This verse stands as a preface to 
the proverbs that follow, and which are not the proverbs of 
Solomon, but of Lemuel; and this Lemuel was not one of 
the kings of Israel, nor of Judah, but of some other country, 
and consequently a Gentile. The Jews, however, have 
adopted his proverbs, and ws thay cannot give any account 
who the author of the book of Job was, or how tliej eun* 



H not A&M <3» MEAaax. [pur h 

bj the book; and as it differs in character from the Hebrew 
writings, and stands totally unconnected with eyery other 
book and chapter in the Bible, before it, and after it, it has 
all the circumstantial evidence of being originally a book 
of the Gentiles.* 

The Bible-makers, and those regulators of time, the chro- 
nologists, appear to have been at a loss where to place or 
how to dispose of the book of Job; for it contains no one 
historical circumstance, nor allusion to any, that might serve 
to determine its place in the Bib'^ But it would not have 
answered the purpose of these men to nave informed the world 
of their ignorance; and, therefore, they have affixed it to the 
sera of 1520 years before Christ, which is during the time 
the Israelites were in Egypt, and for which they have 
just as much authority and no more than I should have for 
saying it was a thousand years before that period. The 
probability, however, is, that it is older than any book in the 
Bible; and it is the only one that can be read without indig- 
nation or disgust. 

We know nothing of what the ancient Gentile world (as 
it is called) was before the time of the Jews, whose practice 
has been to calumniate and blacken the character of all 
other nations; and it is from the Jewish accounts that we 
have learned to call them heathens. But, as far as we know 
to the contrary, they were a just and moral people, and not 
addicted, like the Jews, to cruielty and revenge, but of whose 
profession of faith we are unacquainted. It appears to have 
been their custom to personify both virtue and vice by 
statues and images, as is done now-a-days both by statuary 
and by painting; but it does not follow from this, that they 
worshiped them any more than we do. I pass on to the 
book of 

♦ The prayer fcaown by the came of Agvr'B Prayer, in the 80th chapter of 
Proverbs, immediately preceding the proverbs of Lemaei, and which Is the only 
sensible, well-concelvea, and well-expreesed prayer in the Bible, has mach the 
appearance of being a prayer taken from the Gentiles. The name of Agar occurs 
on no other occasion than this; and he la introduced, together with the prayer 
ascribed to him, In the same manner, and nearly in the same words, that Lemuel 
and hi 8 proverbs are introduced in the chapter that follows. The first verse of 
the 30th chapter says, "The words of Agur, the eon of Jakeh, even the prophecy;" 
here the word prophecy is used with the same application it has In the followlngj 
chapter of Lemuel, unconnected with anything of prediction. The prayer of 
Agur is in the 8th and 9th verses, ^^Bemove far from nu vanity and lies; giv* 
mf neither richet nor poverty, but feed me with food convenient for mt; leat I 
be full artd deny thee, and say. Who i» the Lord? or lest I be poor and tteal, 
and take the name of my God in vain.** This has not any of the marks oi 
being a Jewish prayer, for the Jews never prayed but whes they w«rs ia txtmUc^ 
tad nevtr fw uajtUag bst Tlctery, yvaaMaM and ilehM. 



WASt £l] the AGB OW SXAiOtf. 95 

Psalms^ of which it b» not necessary to make much ob- 
servation. Some of them are moral, and others are very 
revengeful; and the greater part relate to certain locsd 
circumstances of the Jewish nation at the time they were 
written, with which we have nothing to do. It is, however, 
an error or an imposition to call thera the Psalms of David; 
they are a collection, as song books are now-a-days, from 
different song writers, who lived at different times. The 
137th Psalm could not have been written till more than 
400 years after the time of David, because it was written 
in commemoration of an event, the captivity of the Jews 
in Babylon, which did not happen till that distance of time. 
"^y the rivers of Babylon we sat down^ yea^ we wept when 
we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the wil- 
lows^in the midst thereof; for there they that had carried 
lus away captive required of us a, song ^ saying, Sing us one of 
the songs of Zion,^^ As a man would say to an American, or 
to a Frenchman, or to an Englishman, Sing us one of your 
American songs, or of your French songs, or of your 
English songs. This remark with respect to the time this 
Psalm was written, is of no other use than to show (among 
others already mentioned) the general imposition the world 
has been under, with respect to the authors of the Bible. 
No regard has been paid to time, place, and circumstance; 
and the names of persons have been affixed to the several 
books, which it was as impossible they should write, as that a 
man ihould walk in procession at his own funeral. 

Tlte Book of Proverbs. These, like the Psalms, are ft 
collection, and that from authors belonging to other nations 
than those of the Jewish nation, as I have shown in the ob- 
servations upon the book of Job ; besides which, some of the 
proverbs ascribed to Solomon did not appear till two hun- 
dred and fifty years after the death of Solomon ; for it is 
said in the 1st verse of the 25th chapter, " These are also 
proverbs of Solomon^ which the men of Hezekiah, king of 
Judah, copied cm<." It was two hundred and fifty years 
from the time of Solomon to the time of Hezekiah. When 
a man is famous and his name is abroad, he is made the puta- 
tive father of things he never said or did ; and this, most 
probably, has been the case with Solomon. It appears to 
have been the fashion of that day to make proverbs, as it ii 
now to make jest-books, and father them upon those wlio 
Berer saw th«Bk 



06 THS A.GB Of BKABOV. [pABTSL 

The book of J^cclesiasteSy or the Precuihery is also ascribed 
to Solomon, and that with much reason, if not with truth. It is 
written as the solitary reflections of a worn-out debauchee, 
■uoh as Solomon was, who looking back on scenes he can no 
longer enjoy, cries out. All is vanity I A great deal of the 
metaphor and of the sentiment is obscure, most probably by 
translation ; but enough is left to show they were strongly 
pointed in the original.* From what is transmitted to us of 
the character of Solomon, he was witty, ostentatious, disso- 
lute, and at last melancholy. He lived fast, and died, tired 
of the world, at the age of fifty-eight years. 

Seven hundred wives, and three hundred concubines, are 
worse than none; and however it may carry with it the ap- 
pearance of heightened enjoyment, it defeats all the felicity 
of affection, by leaving it no point to fix upon ; divided love 
is never happy. This was the case with Solomon ; and if 
he could not, with all his pretensions to wisdom, discover it 
beforehand, he merited, unpitied, the mortification he after- 
wards endured. In this point of view, his preaching is un- 
necessary, because, to know the consequences it is only 
necessary to know the cause. Seven hundred wives, and 
three hundred concubines, would have stood in place of the 
whole book. It was needless after this to say that all was 
vanity and vexation of spirit ; for it is impossible to derive 
happmess from the company of those whom we deprive of 
happiness. 

To be happy in old age it is necessary that we accustom 
ourselves to objects that can accompany the mind all the way 
through life, and that we take the rest as good in their day. 
The mere man of pleasure is miserable in old age ; and tne 
mere drudge in business is but little better; whereas, natural 
philosophy, mathematical and mechanical science, are a con- 
tinual source of tranquil pleasure; and in spite of the gloomy 
dogmas of priests, and of superstition, the study of those 
things is the study of the true theology; it teaches man to 
know and admire the Creator, for the principles of science 
are in creation, and are unchangeable, and of divine origin. 

Those who knew Benjamin Franklin will recollect, tnat 
his mind was ever young; his temper ever serene ; science, 
that nerer grows gray, was always his mistress. He was 

fti tmMkitlMi tar loM«f aiskt 



PABT n.] TRB AGE OF BEASOV. 97 

nerer without an object, for when w© cease to hmr© an 
object, we become like an invalid in an hospital waiting for 
death. 

Solomon's Songs are amorous and foolish enough, but 
which wrinkled fanaticism has called divine. The compilers 
of the Bible have placed these songs after the book of Eccle- 
siastes ; and the chronologists have aJ05xed to them the asra 
of 1014 years before Christ, at which time Solomon, accord- 
ing to the same chronology, was nineteen years of age, and 
was then forming his seraglio of wives and concubines. 
The Bible-makers and the chronologists should have man- 
aged this matter a little better, and either have said nothing 
about the time,. or chosen a time less inconsistent with the 
supposed divinity of those songs ; for Solomon was then in 
the honeymoon of one thousand debaucheries. 

It should also have occurred to them, that as he wrote, 
if he did vmte the book of Ecclesiastes, long after these 
songs, and in which he exclaims that all is vanity and vex- 
ation of spirit ; that he included those songs in that descrip- 
tion.' This is the more probable, because he says, or some- 
body for him, Ecclesiastes, chap, ii.; v. 8: ^* I got me men 
singers and women singers (most probably to sing those 
songs), and m,usical instruments of all sorts ^ and behold (v. 
11), all was vanity and vexation of spirit." The compilers, 
however, have done their work but by halves; for as they 
have given us the songs, they should have given us the 
tunes, that we might sing them. 

The books called the books of the Prophets, fill up all 
the remaining parts of the Bible; they are sixteen in num- 
ber, b^inning with Isaiah and ending with Malachi, oi 
which I have given you a list in my observations upon 
Chronicles. Of these sixteen prophets, all of whom, except 
the three last, lived within the time the books of Kings and 
Chronicles were written; two only, Isaiah and Jeremiah, 
are mentioned in the history of those books. I shall begin 
with those two, reserving what I have to say on the general 
character of the men called prophets to another part of the 
work. 

Whoever will take the trouble of reading the book 
ascribed to Isaiah, will find it one of the most wild and 
disorderly compositions ever put together; it has neither 
bcgianiiig, midole, nor end; and, except a short b'stvriffti 



ii THS A&1S OF MSASOm, [PAST IL 

put, find a few sketches of history in two or three of the 
arst chapters, is one continued, incoherent, bombasticaj 
rant, full of extravagant metaphor without application, and 
destitute of meaning; a school-boy would scarcely have been 
excusable for writing such stuff; it is (at least in transla- 
tion) that kind of composition and false taste that is properly 
called prose run mad. 

The historical part begins at the 36th chap., and is con- 
tinued to the end of the 39th chap. It relates to some 
matters that are said to have passed during the reign of Hez- 
ekiah. King of Judah, at which time Isaiah lived. This frag- 
ment of history begins and ends abruptly; it has not the 
least connection with the chapter that precedes it, nor with 
that which follows it, nor with any other in the book. It is 
probable that Isaiah wrote this fragment himself, because 
he was an actor in the circumstances it treats of; but, except 
this part, there are scarcely two chapters that have any con- 
nection with each other; one is entitled, at the beginning of 
the first verse, the burden of Babylon; another, the burden of 
Moab ; another, the burden of Damascus; another, the bur- 
den of Egypt; another, the burden of the Desert of the Sea; 
another, the burden of the Valley of Vision; as you would 
say, the story of the knight of the burning mountain, the 
story of Cinderella, or the Children of the Wood, etc., etc. 

I have already shown, in the instance of the two last 
verses of Chronicles, and the three first in Ezra, that the 
compilers of the Bible mixed and confounded the writings 
of different authors with each other, which alone, were 
there no other cause, is sufficient to destroy the authenticity 
of any compilation, because it is more than presumptive 
evidence that the compilers are ignorant who the authors 
were. A very glaring instance of this occurs in the book 
ascribed to Isaiah. The latter part of the Mth chapter, and 
the beginning of the 45th, so far from having been written 
by Isaiah, could only have been written by some person 
who lived at least an hundred and fifty years after Isaiah 
was dead. 

These chapters are a compliment to Ck/rtts^ who permitted 
the Jews to return to Jerusalem from the Babylonian cap- 
tivity, to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple, as is stated in 
Ezra. The last verse of the 44th chapter, and the beginning 
of ^ i&chf are in the following words: ^ Thai iiuth ijf 



PABT n.] THE AGE OF BSASOH. M 

Cyrtbs^ he is my shepherd^ and shall perform all my pleamire; 
even saying to Jerusalem^ thou shalt be built* and to the 
temple thy foundations shall be laid/ thus saith the Lord to 
his anointedy to GyruSy whose right hand I have holden to 
iubdue nations before him^ and I will loose the loins of 
kings to open before him the two-leaved gates^ and the gates 
shall not be shut; I will go before thee^"^ etc. 

What audacity of church and priestly ignorance it is to 
ipipose this book upon the world as the writing of Isaiah, 
when Isaiah, according to their own chronology, died soon 
after the death of Hezekiah, which was 698 years before 
Christ; and the decree of Cyrus, in favor of the Jews re- 
turning to Jerusalem was, according to the same chronology, 
636 years before Christ; which was a distance of time be- 
tween the two of 162 years. I do not suppo'^e that the com- 
pilers of the Bible made these books, but rather that they 
picked up some loose anonymous essays, and put them 
together under the names of such authors as best suited 
their purpose. They have encouraged the imposition, which 
is next to inventing it; for it was impossible but they must 
have observed it. 

When we see the studied craft of the scripture-makers, 
in making every part of this romantic book of school-boy's 
eloquence bend to the monstrous idea of a Son of God, 
begotten by a ghost on the body of a virgin, there is no 
imposition we are not justified in suspecting them of. 
Every phrase and circumstance are marked with the barbar- 
ous hand of superstitious torture, and forced into meanings 
it was impossible they could have. The head of every 
chapter, the top of every page, are blazoned vrith the names 
of Christ and the Church, that the unwary reader might suck 
in the error before he began to read. 

Behold a virgin shall conceive^ and bear a son, Isaiah, 
ohap. vii. ver. 14, has been interpreted to mean the person 
called Jes\is Christ, and his mother Mary, and has been 
echoed through Christendom for more than a thousand years; 
and such has been the rage of this opinion, that scarcely a 

rt in it but has been stained with blood and marked with 
olation in consequence of it. Though it is not my inten- 
tLOQ to enter into controversy on subjects of this kmd, but 
' to confine myself to show that the Bible is spurious; and 
ihiiM, hj taking away the foundation, to oyerthrow at ob<mi 



100 THB AGE OF KEASON. [PJUTT IL 

the whole structure of superstition raised thereon; I will, 
however, stop a moment to expose the fallacious application 
of this passage. 

WTiether Isaiah was playinff a trick with Ahaz, king o^ 
Judah, to whom this passage is spoken, is no business o^ 
mine; I mean only to show the misapplication of the pas- 
sage, and that it has no more reference to Christ and his 
mother, than it has to me and my mother. The story is 
simply this: 

The king of Syria and the king of Israel (I have already 
mentioned that the Jews were split into two nations, one of 
which was called Judah, the capital of which was Jerusalem, 
and the other Israel) made war jointly against Ahaz, king of 
Judah, and marched their armies toward Jerusalem. Ahaz 
and his people became alarmed, and account says, verse 2, 
** Their hearts were moved as the trees of the wood are moved 
toith the wind.^^ 

In this situation of things, Isaiah addresses himself to 
Ahaz, and assures him in the nam£ of the Lord (the cant 
phrase of all the prophets) that these two kings should not 
succeed against him; and to satisfy Ahaz that this should be 
the case, tells him to ask a sign. This, the account says, 
Ahaz declined doing; giving as a reason that he would not 
tempt the Lord; upon which Isaiah, who is the speaker, 
says, ver. 44, " Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a 
sign; behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and the 
I6th verse says, " And before this child shall know to refuse 
the evil, and chitse the goody the land which thou abhorrest 
or dreadest (meaning Syria and the kingdom of Israel) shall 
be forsaken of both her kings." Here then was the sign, 
and the time limited for, the completion of the assurance or 
promise; namely, before this child should know to refuse the 
evil and chuse the good. 

Isaiah having committed himself thus far, it became neces- 
sary to him, in order to avoid the imputation of being a false 
prophet, and the conseouence thereof, to take measures to 
make this sign appear. It certainly was not a difficult thing, 
in any time of the world, to find a girl with child, or to make 
her so; and perhaps Isaiah knew of one beforehand; for I do 
not suppose the prophets of that day were any more to be 
trusted than the priests of this, be that, however, as it may, 
hd sftji in the next chapter, ver. 2, "And I took unto me 



PAXT n.] THS AQE OF REASON. 101 

faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah 
the son of Jeberechiah, and / werU unto the prophetess^ and 
ahe conceived and bare a so7i.^^ 

Here then is the whole story, foolish as it is, of this child, 
and this virgin; and it is upon the barefaced perversion of 
this story, that the book of Matthew, and the impudence and 
sordid interest of priests in later times, have founded a 
theory which they call the gospel; and have applied this 
story to signify the person they call Jesus Christ, begotten, 
they say, by a ghost, whom they call holy, on the body of a 
woman, engaged in marriage, and afterwards married, whom 
they call a virgin, 700 years after this foolish story was told; 
a theory which, speaking for myself, I hesitate not to believe, 
and to say, is as fabulous and false as God is true.* 

But to show the imposition and falsehood of Isaiah, we 
have only to attend to the sequel of this story; which, 
though it is passed over in silence in the book of Isaiah, is 
related in the 28th chapter of the second Chronicles; and 
which is, that instead of these two kings failing in their at- 
tempt against Ahaz, king of Judah, as Isaiah had pretended 
to foretell in the name of the Lord, they succeeded; Ahaz was 
defeated and destroyed ; a hundred and twenty thousand of 
his people were slaughtered ; Jerusalem was plundered, and 
two hundred thousand women, and sons and daughters, car- 
ried into captivity. Thus much for this lying prophet and 
impostor Isaiah, and the book of falsehoods that bears hifl 
name. I pass on to the book of 

Jeremiah. This prophet, as he is called, lived in the time 
that Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, in the reign of 
Zedekiah, the last king of Judah; and the suspicion was 
strong against him, that he was a traitor in the interest of 
Nebuchadnezzar. Everything relating to Jeremiah shows 
him to have been a man of an equivocal character : in his 
metaphor of the potter and the clay, chap, xvii., he guards 
his prognostications in such a crafty manner, as always to 
leave himself a door to escape by, in case the event should 
be contrary to what he had predicted. 

In the 7th and 8th verses of that chapter, he makes the 
AJ mighty to say, " At what instant I shall speak concerning 

•In the 14th ▼erse of the 7th chapter, It i« eaid, that the child ihonld b« cftlled 
Immatiasl ; but this name was not given to either of the children, otherwiae thaa 
as a character which the word eignifles. That of the propheies* WM ctHaA 
if aher-shAl&l-haaii-hikft, and th«t of Mary wu c«lle4 Jes^. 



lOi THX ▲«£ OF XKASOH. [PABT IL 

A nation, and oonceminff a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull 
down, and destroy it : if that nation, against whom I have 
pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent me of the 
ftvil that I thought to do unto them." Here was a proviso 
against one side of the case : now for the other side. 

Verses 9 and 10, "At what instant I shall speak concern- 
ing a nation and concerning a kingdom, to buiid and to 
plant it, if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice : 
then I will repent me of the good wherewith I said I would 
benefit them." Here is a proviso against the other side; and, 
according to his plan of prophesying, a prophet could never 
be wrong, however mistaken the Almighty might be. This 
sort of absurd subterfuge, and this manner of speaking of 
the Almighty, as one would speak of a man, is consistent 
with nothing but the stupidity of the Bible. 

As to the authenticity of the book, it is only necessary to 
reftd it in order to decide positively, that, though some pas- 
sages recorded therein may have been spoken by Jeremiah, 
he is not the author of the book. The historical parts, if 
they can be called by that name, are in the most confused 
condition ; the same events are several times repeated, and 
that in a manner different, and sometimes in contradiction 
to each other; and this disorder runs even to the last chapter, 
where the history, upon which the greater part of the book 
has been employed, begins anew, and ends abruptly. The 
book has all the appearance of being a medley of uncon- 
nected anecdotes, respecting persons and things of that time, 
collected together in the same rude manner as if the various 
and contradictory aecounts, that are to be found in a bundle 
of newspapers, respecting persons and things of the present 
day, were put together without date, order, or explanation. 
1 will give two or three examples of this kind. 

It appears, from the account of the 37th chapter, that the 
army of Nebuchadnezzar, which is called the army of the 
Chaldeans, had besieged Jerusalem some time; and on their 
hearing that the army of Pharaoh, of Egypt, was marching 
<^ainst them they raised the siege, and retreated for a time. 
It may here be proper to mention, in order to understand 
this confused history, that Nebuchadnezzar had besieged and 
taken Jerusalem, during the reign of Jehoakim, the prede- 
oe»ior of Zedekiah ; and that it was Nebuchadnezzar who 
bftd made Zedeki&h king, or rather viceroy ; «ad tbftt this 



PLBTII.] THE AOB OF SEASOS. lOS 

second siege, of which the book of Jeremiah treats, was in 

consequence of the revolt of Zedekdah against Nebuchad- 
nezzar. This will in some measure account for the suspicion 
that affixes itself to Jeremiah of being a traitor, and in the 
interest of Nebuchadnezzar ; whom Jeremiah calls, in the 
i3d chap., yer. 10, the servant of God. 

The 11th verse of this chapter, (the 37th,) says, ** And it 
came to pass, that, when the army of the Chaldeans was 
broken up from Jerusalem, for fear of Pharaoh's army, that 
Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem, to go (as this account 
states) into the land of Benjamin, to separate himself thence 
in the midst of the people; and when ne was in the gate of 
Benjamin a captain of the ward was there, whose name 
was Irijah ; and he took Jeremiah, the prophet, saying. Thou 
fallest away to the Chaldeans ; then Jeremiah said. It is false, 
I fall not away to the Chaldeans." Jeremiah being thus 
stopped and accused, was, after being examined, committed 
to prison, on suspicion of being a traitor, where he remained, 
as IS stated in tne last verse of this chapter. 

But the next chapter gives an account of the imprison- 
ment of Jeremiah, which has no connection with this 
account, but ascribes his imprisonment to another circum- 
stance, and for which we must go back to the 21st chapter. 
It is there stated, ver. 1, that Zedekiah sent Pashur, the son 
of Malchiah, and Zephaniah, the son of Maaseiah, the priest, 
to Jeremiah to inquire of him concerning Nebuchadnezzar, 
whose army was then before Jerusalem; and Jeremiah said 
to them, ver. 8: "Thus saith the Lord, Behold I set before 
you the way of life, and the way of death; he that abideth 
m this city shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and bv 
the pestilence; but he thatgoeth out and falleth to the Chal- 
deans that besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be unto 
him for a prey." 

This interview and conference breaks off abruptly at the 
end of the 10th verse of the 21st chapter; and such is the 
disorder of this book that we have to pa^ over sixteen 
chapters, upon various subjects, in order to come at the 
continuation and event of this conference; and this brings 
us to the first verse of the 38th chapter, as I have just men- J 
tioned. jr{ 

The 38th chapter opens with saying: " Then Shapatia|Cy 
the SOS of Mattan; Gedaliah, the urn. of Pashur, and Juosi, 



104 THX AOB OF BSASOS. [fABT IL 

lli8 i»on of Shelemiah; and Pashur, the son of Malchiah, 
(here are more persons mentioned than in the 21st chapter,) 
heard the words that Jeremiah spoke unto the people, say- 
ing, Thtcs saith the Lordy He that remaineth in this city 
shall die by the sword^ by thefamine^ and by the pestilence^ 
hut he thai goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for Ai 
ihall have his life for a prey ^ and shall live; (which are the 
words of the conference,) therefore, (say they to Zedekiah,) 
we beseech thee, let us put this man to death, for thus he 
weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this 
citt/j and the hands of all the people in speaking such words 
unto them; for this man seeketh not the welfare of the people^ 
btU the hurt;'''' and at the 6th verse it is said; "Then they 
took Jeremiah, and put him into a dungeon of Malchiah." 

These two accounts are different and contradictory. The 
one ascribes his imprisonment to his attempt to escape out 
of the city; the other to his preaching and prophesying in 
the city; the one to his being seized by the guard at the 
gate; the other to his being accused before Zedekiah, by the 
conferees.* 

In the next chapter (the 39th) we hare another instance 
of the disordered state of this book; for, notwithstanding 
die siege of the city by Nebuchadnezzar has been the sub- 

* I observed two chapters, 16th and 17th, in the first book of Samuel, that contra- 
dict each other with reepect to David, and the manner he became acquainted with 
Saul; as the 37th and 88th chapters of the book of Jeremiah contradict each other 
with respect to the cause of Jeremiah's imprisonment. 

Ill the 16th chapter of Samuel it is said that an evil spirit of God troubled Saul, 
and that his servants advised him (as a remedy) " to eeek out a man who was s 
canning player upon the harp.'' And Saul said, ver. 17: "Provide now a man 
that can play well, and bring him unto me. Then answered one of his servants, 
and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse, the Bathlemite, that is cunning In 
playing, and a mighty man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a 
eomely person, and the Lord is with him; wherefore Saul sent messengers unto 
Jesse, and said. Send me David, thy son. And [verse 21] David came to Saul, 
and stood before him, and he loved him gieatly, and he became his armour- 
bearer; and, when the evil spirit of God was upon Saul [verse 23] David 
took hie harp, and played with his hand, and Saul was refreshed, and was 
welL* 

But the next chapter (17) gives an account, all different to this, of the manner 
that Saul and David became acquainted. Here it is ascribed to David's encounter 
with Gollaih, when David was sent by hia father to carry provision to his brethren 
in the camp. In the 55th verse of this chanter It is said: "And when Saul saw 
David go forth against the Philletine [Goliatn] he said to Abner, the captain of the 
host, Abner. whose son is this youth f And Abner sai d, As thy soul 1 iveth, O king. 
I cannot tell. And the king said, Inquire thou whose son the stripling Is. Ana 
as David returiod from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him and 
brought him before Saul, with the iiead of the Philistine In his hand; and Saul 
said unto htm, Whose son art ihou, thou young man? And David answered, I 
am the son of ihy servant Jesse, the Bethlemite.^' These two accounts belie each 
-^her, because each of them supposes Saul and David n<H to haTekaowm eaok 
Otbtt bdora. TMs loook, the Biole, is too ridiculoilB fbr erlttdua. 



TAXtn] THX AGB OF XSABOV. 105 

jeot of several of the preceding chapters, particularly the 
37th and 38th, the 39th chapter begins as if not a word had 
been said upon the subject, and as if the reader was to be 
informed of every particular respecting it, for it begins with 
saying, ver. 1: "J/i the ninth year ^ Zedekiah^ king of 
Jud^^ in the tenth months came Nebuchadnezzar^ king of 
Babylon^ and all his army, against Jerusaleniy ana he- 
sieged it^"* etc., etc. 

But the instance in the last chapter (the 62d) is still more 
glaring; for, though the story has been told over and over 
again, this chapter still supposes the reader not to know any- 
tmng of it, for it begins by saying, ver. 1: ^^Zedekiah was 
one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he 
reigned eleven years in Jerusalem, and his mother* s name 
was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of lAhnah, (ver. 4,) 
and it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the 
tenth mo7ith, that N'ebuchadnezzar, king of Sabylon, came 
he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and pitched against 
it, and built forts against it,^'' etc., etc. 

It is not possible that any one man, and more particu- 
larly Jeremiah, could have been the writer of this book. 
The errors are such as could not have been committed by 
any person sitting down to compose a work. Were I, or 
any other man, to write in such a disordered manner, nobody 
would read what was written; and everybody would suppose 
that the writer was in a state of insanity. The only way, 
therefore, to account for this disorder, is, that the book is a 
medley of detached unauthenticated anecdotes, put together 
by some stupid book-maker, under the name of Jeremiah; 
because many of them refer to hi jo, and to the circumstances 
of the times ne lived in. 

Of the duplicity, and of the false predictions of Jeremiah, 
I shall mention two instances, and then proceed to review 
the remainder of the Bible. 

It appears from the 38th chapter, that when Jeremiah was 
in prison, Zedekiah sent for him, and at this interview, which 
was private, Jeremiah pressed it strongly on Zedekiah to 
surrender himself to the enemy. " If'' says he, (ver. 17,) 
" <Aow wilt assuredly go forth unto the king of BahylovCi , 
princes, then thy soul shall live,^^ etc. Zedekiah was appr^ , ( 
nensive that what passed at this conference should be know/^^^^ 
and he said to Jeremiah, (ver. 26,) ** If the princes (meaning 



106 THB AftS OF XXA80H* [VaBT II* 

those of Judah) hear that I have talked with thee, and thej 
come unto thee, and saj unto thee. Declare unto ui now 
what thou hast said unto the king; hide it not from us, and 
we will not put thee to death; and also what the king said 
unto thee; tlien thou shalt sav unto them, I presented my 
supplication before the king; that he would not cause me to 
return to Jonathan's house to die there. Then came all the 
princes unto Jeremiah, and asked him, and Tie told them aa- 
cording to all the words the king had commanded.'*^ Thus, 
this man of God, as he is called, could tell a lie, or yeir 
strongly prevaricate, when he supposed it would answer his 
purpose; for certainly he did not go to Zedekiah to make his 
supplication, neither did he make it; he went because he was 
sent for, and he employed that opportunity to advise Zede- 
kiah to siirrender himself to Nebuchadnezzar. 

In the 34th chapter, is a prophecy of Jeremiah to Zedekiah, 
in these words, (ver. 2,) "Thus saith the Lord, Behold I will 
give this city into the nands of the king of Babylon, and he 
will bum it with fire; and thou shalt not escape out of his 
hand, but thou shalt surely be taken, and delivered into that 
his hand; and thine eyes shall behold the eyes of the king of 
Babylon, and he shall speak with thee mouth to mouth, and 
thou shalt go to Babylon. " Yet hear the word of the Lord; 
O Zedekiah, king of Judah, thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt 
not die by the sword, but thou shalt die in peace; and with 
the burnings of thy fathers, the former kings that were before 
thee, so shall they bum odors for thee, and they will lament 
thee, saying, Ah, Lord; for I have pronounced the word, saith 
the Lord." 

Now, instead of Zedekiah beholding the eyes of the kine 
of Babylon, and speaking with him mouth to mouth, ana 
dying in peace, and with tne burning of odors, as at the fun- 
eral of his fathers, (as Jeremiah had declared the Lord him- 
self had pronounced,) the reverse, according to the 62d chap- 
ter, was the case; it is there said, (ver. 10,) "That the king 
of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes: then 
he put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him in chains, 
and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the 
day of his death." What then can we say of uiese prophets, 
but that they are imposters and liars? 

«.^ As for Jeremiah, he experienced none of those evils. He 
wg« taken into fi&vor by Nebuchadnezzar, who gave him in 



pjon n.] THX Aox ov xxajk>v. 107 

charge to the captain of the guard, (chap, xxzix. t. 13,) 
*' Take him (said he) and look well to him, and do him no 
harm; but do unto him even as he shall say unto thee." 
Jeremiah joined himself afterwards to Nebuchadnezzar, and 
went about prophesying for him against the Egyptians, who 
had marched to the relief of Jerusalem while it was besieged. 
Thus much for another of Uie lying prophets, and the book 
that bears his name. 

1 have been the more particular in treating of the books 
ascribed to Isaiah and Jeremiah, because those two are spok- 
en of in the books of Kings and Chronicles, which the otners 
are not. The remainder of the books ascribed to the men 
called prophets, I shall not trouble myself much about; but 
take them collectively into the observations I shall offer on 
Uie character of the men styled prophets. 

In the former part of the Age of Reason^ I have said 
that the word prophet was the Bible word for poet, and 
that the flights and metaphors of Jewish poets have been 
foolishly erected into what are now called prophecies. I 
am suJSBciently justified in this opinion, not only because 
the books called the prophecies are written in poetical lan- 

OB, but because there is no word in the Bible, except it 
e word prophet, that describes what we mean by a poet. 
I have also said, that the word signifies a performer upon 
musical instruments, of which I have given some instances; 
such as that of a company of prophets prophesjnng with 
psalteries, with tabrets, with pipes, with harps, etc., and that 
Saul prophesied with them, 1 Sam. chap, x., ver. 6. It 
appears from this passage, and from other parts in the book 
of Samuel, that the word prophet was confined to siffnify 
poetry and music, for the person who was supposed to have 
a visionary insight into concealed things was not a prophet, 
but a «etfr,* (1 Sam., chap. ix. ver. 9); and it was not till after 
the word teer went out of use (which most probably was 
when Saul banished those he called wizards) that the pro- 
fession of the seer, or the art of seeing, became incorporated 
into the word prophet. 

According to the modem meaning of the word prophet 
and prophesying, it signifies foretelling events to a great diif^' 
umoe of time ; and it became necessary to the inventop ( 

*Iln»ow not what Is the Hebrew word that corresponds to the word st^. w 
finjlish, hut I obgerTe It ib translated into French hy La Yoyaat, ftom tlie ^m^ 
Mjr t9 M^ ui4 whieli n«a&s the person w^ «ms. ot tlM S9«r. 



108 THX AGS or KKABOH. [PAXT IL 

the gospel to give it this latitude of meaning, in order to 
apply or to stretch what they call the prophecies of the Old 
Testament, to the times of the New; but according to the 
Old Testament, the prophesying of the seer, and afterwards 
of the prophet, so far as the meaning of the word seer was 
incorporated into that of prophet, had reference only to 
things of the time then passing, or very closely connected 
with it; such as the event of a battle they were going to 
engage in, or of a journey, or of any enterprise they were 
going to undertake, or of any circumstance then pending, 
or of any difficulty they were then in ; all of which had im- 
mediate reference to themselves (as in the case already men- 
tioned of Ahaz and Isaiah, with respect to the expression, 
Behold a virgin shall conceive and hear a son)^ and not to 
any distant future time. It was that kind of prophesying 
that corresponds to what we call fortune-telling; sucn as 
casting nativities, predicting riches, fortunate or unfortunate 
marriages, conjuring for lost goods, etc.; and it is the fraud 
of the Christian church, not that of the Jews; and the 
ignorance and the superstition of modern, not that of ancient 
times, that elevated those poetical, musical, conjuring, 
dreaming, strolling gentry into the rank they have since 
had. 

But, besides this general character of all the prophets, 
they had also a particular character. They were in parties, 
and they prophesied for or against, according to the party 
they were with; as the poetical and political writers of the 
present day write in defense of the party they associate 
with against the other. 

After the Jews were divided into two nations, that of 
Judah and that of Israel, each party had its prophets, who 
abused and accused each other of being false prophets, lying 
prophets, impostors, etc. 

The prophets of the party of Judah prophesied against 
the prophets of the party of Israel, and those of the party 
of Israel against those of Judah. This party prophesying 
showed ittelf immediately on the separation under the first 
two rival kings, Rehoboam and Jeroboam. The prophet 
that cursed, or prophesied against the altar that Jeroboam 
had built in Bethel, was of the party of Judah, where 
"•^fcw,JE5^hoboam was king; and ht was waylaid, on his return 
home, by a prophet of the party of Israel, who laid unto 



FABT n.] THB AGS OF BKABCOr. 109 

him (1 Kings, chap, x.): "Art thou the man of God that 
came from Judah? and he said, I am/' Then the prophet 
of the party of Israel said to him, " I am a prophet also, as 
thou art (signifying of Judahj, and an ang^el spake unto me 
by the word of the Lord, saying, Bring him back with the© 
unto thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water; 
but (says the IBth verse) he lied unto him." This event, 
however, according to the story, is, that the prophet of 
Judah never got back to Judah, for he was found dead on 
the road, by the contrivance of the prophet of Israel, who, 
no doubt, was called a true prophet by his own party, and 
the prophet of Judah a lying prophet. 

fn the third chapter of the second of Kings, a story is 
related of prophesying or conjuring, that shows, in several 
particulars, the character of a prophet. Jehoshaphat, king 
of Judah, and Joram, king of Israel, had for a while ceased 
their party animosity, and entered into an alliance; and these 
two, together with the king of Edom, engaged in a war 
against the king of Moab. After uniting, ana marching their 
armies, the story says, they were in great distress for 
water, upon which Jehoshaphat said, ** Is there not here a 
prophet of the Lord, that we may inquire of the Lord by 
him? and one of the servants of the king of Israel said. Here 
is Elisha (Elisha was of the party of Juctih.) And Jehosha- 
phat, the king of Judah said. The word of the Lord is 
with him." The story then says, that these three kings 
went down to Elisha; and when Elisha (who as I have 
said, was a Judahmite prophet) saw the king of Israel, he 
said unto him, " What have I to do with thee, get thee to 
the prophets of thy father and the prophets of thy mother. 
Nay, but, said the king of Israel, the Lord hath called these 
three kings together, to deliver them into the hands of the 
king of Moab," (meaning because of the distress they were 
it for water;) upon which Elisha said, "As the Lord of hosts 
liveth before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I 
regarded Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, I would not look 
towards thee, nor see thee." Here is all the venom and 
vulgarity of a party prophet. We have now to see the 
performance, or manner of prophesying. 

Ver. 16: "Bring me," said Elisha, "a minstrel; and it 
tame to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the 
Lord came uj^cm him." Here is the faxoe of the oonjuror. 



110 TBS AGS 07 SSASOSi; [pAST B. 

Now for the prophecy: **Aiid Elisha said, (singing most 
probably to the tune ne was playing,) Thus saith the Lord 
Make this valley full of ditches;" which was just telling 
them what every countrjTnan could have told them without 
either fiddle or farce, that the way to get water was to dig 
for it. 

But as every conjuror is not famous alike for the same 
thing, so neither were those prophets; for though all of them, 
at least those I have spoken of, were famous for lying, some 
of them excelled in cursing. Elisha, whom I have just men^ 
tioned, was a chief in this branch of prophesying; it was he 
that cursed the for^-two children in the name of the Lord, 
whom the two she-bears came and devoured. We are to 
suppose that those children were of the party of Israel; but 
as those who will curse will lie, there is just as much oredit 
to be given to this story of Elisha's two she-bears as there m 
to that of the Dragon of Wantley, of whom it is said, 

Poor children thr^s deroured he. 
That coald not with him grapid*; 
And at one 8ap he eai them up, 
Afl a man would eat an apple. 

There was another description of men odiled prophets, 
that amused themselves with dreams and visions; but 
whether by night or by day, we know not. These, if thej 
were not quite harmless, were but little mischievous. Oi 
this class are: 

Ezekiel and Daniel; and the first question upon those 
books, as upon all the others, is, are they genuine? that is, 
were they written by Ezekiel and Daniel? 

Of this there is no proof; but so far as my own opinion 
goes, I am more inclined to believe they were, than that they 
were not. My reasons for this opinion are as follows: First, 
Because those books do not contain internal evidence to 
prove they were not written by Ezekiel and Daniel, as the 
books ascribed to Moses, Joshua, Samuel, etc., etc., prove they 
were not written by Moses, Joshua, Samuel, etc. 

Seoondiv, Because they were not written till after the 
Babylonish captivity began; and there is good reason to 
believe, that not any book in the Bible was written before 
that period; at least, it is provable, from the books them- 
selves, as I have already shown, that they were not written 
till after the commencement of the Jewish monarchy. 

Thirdly, Beeaiue the mmmer in which the books ascribed 



rAKrn.] the agb or bxabob. Ill 

to Ezekie! and Daniel are written, agrees with the oonditioB 
these men were ia at the time of writing them. 

Had the numerous commentators and pricNits, who have 
foolishly employed or wasted their time in pretending to 
expound and unriddle those books, been carried into cap- 
tivity, as Ezekiel and Daniel were, it would have greatly 
improved their intellects, in comprehending the reason for 
this mode of writing, and have saved them the trouble of 
racking their invention, as they have done, to no purpose, 
for they would have found that themselves would be obliged 
to write whatever they had to write, respecting their own 
affairs, or those of their friends, or of their country, in a 
concealed manner, as those men have done. 

These two books differ from all the rest; for it is only 
these that are filled with accounts of dreams and visions; 
and this difference arose from the situation the writers were 
in as prisoners of war, or prisoners of state, in a foreign 
country, which obliged them to convey even the most trifling 
information to each other, and all their political projects or 
opinions, in obscure and metaphorical terms. They pretend 
to have dreamed dreams, and seen visions, because it was 
unsafe for them to speak facts or plain language. We 
ought, however, to suppose, that the persons to whom they 
wrote, understood what they meant, and tnat it was not 
intended anybody else should. But these busy commenta- 
tors and priests have been puzzling their wits to find out 
what it was not intended they should know, and with which 
they have nothing to do. 

Ezekiel and Daniel were carried prisoners to Babylon, 
under the first captivity, in the time of Jehoiakim, nine 
years before the second captivity in the time of Zedekiah. 

The Jews were then still numerous, and had considerable 
force at Jerusalem; and as it is natural to suppose that men 
in the situation of Ezekiel and Daniel, would be meditating 
the recovery of their coimtry, and their own deliverance, it 
is reasonable to suppose, that the accounts of dreams and 
risions, with which these books are filled, are no other than a 
disguised mode of correspondence, to facilitate those objects; 
it served them as a cypher, or secret alphabet. If they 
are not this, they are tales, reveries, and nonsense; or, at 
least, a fanciful way of wearing off the wearisomeness of 
Oi^tiyity ; but the presumption is, that thej were the former. 



112 THS AGS OF BBASON. [FAJSTT TL 

Ezekiel begins his books by speaking of a vision of cheru- 
bims^ and of a wheel within a wheels which he says he saw 
by the river Chebar, in the land of his captivity. Is it not 
reasonable to suppose, that by the chenibims he meant the 
temple at Jerusalem, where tney had figures of cherubiras? 
and by a wheel within a wheel (which, as a figure, has 
always been understood to signify political contrivance) 
the project or means of recovering Jerusalem? In the latter 
part of this book he supposes himself transported to Jeru- 
salem, and into the temple; and he refers back to the vision 
on the river Chebar, and says (chap, xliii., ver. 3) that this 
last vision was like the vision on the river Chebar; which 
indicates, that those pretended dreams and visions had for 
their object the recovery of Jerusalem, and nothing further. 

As to the romantic interpretations and applications, wild 
as the dreams and visions they undertake to explain, which 
commentators and priests have made of those books, that of 
converting them into things which they call prophecies, and 
making them bend to times and circumstances, as far remote 
even as the present day, it shows the fraud or the extreme 
folly to which credulity or priestcraft can go. 

Scarcely anything can be more absurd than to suppose 
that men situated as Ezekiel and Daniel were, whose coun- 
try was overrun and in the possession of the enemy, all 
their friends and relations in captivity abroad, or in slavery at 
home, or massacred, or in continual danger of it; scarcely 
anything, I say, can be more absurd, than to suppose that 
such men should find nothing to do but that of employing 
their time and their thoughts about what was to happen to 
other nations a thousand or two thousand years after they 
were dead; at the same time, nothing is more natural than 
tJiat they should meditate the recovery of Jerusalem and 
their own deliverance; and that this was the sole object of all 
the obscure and apparently frantic writing, contained in 
those books. 

In this sense, the mode of writing used in those two books 
being forced by necessity, and not adopted by choice, is not 
irrational; but, if we are to use the books as prophecies, 
they are false. In the 29th chapter of Ezekiel, speaking of 
Egypt, it is said (ver. 11), "No foot of man should pass 
tim>ugh it, nor foot of beast should pass through it; neither 
•bail it be inhabited for forty years.^ This is what neY«r 



FAXr n.] THX AOS 07 SEA80V. 118 

came to pass, and consequentlj it U false, as all the boola I 
hare already renewed are. I here close this part of the sub- 
ject. 

In the former part of the Age cf JReason I ^ve spoken 
of Jonah, and of the story of him and the whale. A fit 
story for ridicule, if it was written to be believed; or of 
laughter, if it was intended to try what credulity could 
swallow; for, if it could swallow Jonah and the whale, it 
could swallow anything. 

But, as is already shown in the obseryations on the book 
of Job and of Proverbs, it is not always certain which of the 
books in the Bible are originally Hebrew, or only transla^ 
tions from books of the Gentiles into Hebrew; and, as the 
book of Jonah, so far from treating of the affairs of the 
Jews, says nothing upon that subject, but treats altogether 
of the (Jentiles, it is more probable that it is a book of the 
Grentiles than of the Jews; and that it has been written as 
a fable, to expose the nonsense and satirize the vicious and 
malignant character of a Bible prophet or a predicting 
priest, 

Jonah is represented, first, as a disobedient prophet, run- 
ning away from his mission and taking shelter aboard a 
vessel of the Gentiles, bound from Joppa to Tarshish; as if 
he ignorantly supposed, by such a paltry contrivance, he 
could hide himself where God could not find him. The 
vessel is overtaken by a storm at sea; and the mariners, all 
of whom are Gentiles, believing it to be a judgment, on ac- 
count of some one on board who had committed a crime, 
agreed to cast lots to discover the offender; and the lot fell 
upon Jonah. But, before this, they had cast all their wares 
and merchandise overboard to lighten the vessel, while 
Jonah, like a stupid fellow, was fast asleep in the hold. 

After the lot had designated Jonah to be the offender; 
they questioned him to know who and what he was? and he 
told them he was an ffebreuf/ and the story implies that he 
confessed himself to be guilty. But these Gentiles, instead 
of sacrificing him at once, without pity or mercy, as a com- 
pany of Bible prophets or priests would have done by a 
Gentile in the same case, and as it is related Samuel had done 
by Agag, and Moses by the women and children, they 
endeavored to save him, though at the risk of their own lives; 
fior the aooount layi: ^ Nevertheless (that i«, though Jonab 



tl4t ¥HS AGS Of BXAB^r. ftAMffl. 



was a Jew and a foreigner, and the cause of all their misfor* 
tones, and the loss of their cargo (the men rowed hard to 
bring the boat to land, but they could not, for the s«i 
wrought and was tempestuous against them.** Still, however, 
they were unwilling to put the fate of the lot into execution; 
and they cried (says the account) unto the Lord, saying: 
" We beseech thee, O Lord, let us not pensh for this man's 
life, and lay not upon us innocent blood; for thou, O Lord, 
hast done as it pleased thee." Meaning thereby, that they 
did not presume to judge Jonah guilty, since that he might 
be innocent; but that they considered the lot that had fallen 
upon him as a decree of God, or as it pleased God. The 
aadress of this prayer shows that the Gentries worshiped 
one Supreme Being y and thatthey were not idolators as the 
Jews represented tliem to be. But the storm still contina- 
ing, ana the danger increasing, they put the fate of the lot 
into execution, and cast Jonah into the sea; where, aco<»*ding 
to the story, a great fish swallowed him up whole and alive. 

We have now to consider Jonah securely housed from the 
lt(»rm in the fish's belly. Here we are told that he prayed; 
but the prayer Is a made-up prayer, taken from various parts 
of the Psalms, without any connection or consistency, and 
adapted to the distress, but not at all to the condition, that 
Jonah was in. It is such a prayer as a Gentile, who might 
know something of the Psalms, could copy out for him. This 
eiroumstance alone, were there no other, is sufficient to indi- 
cate that tiie whole is a made-up story. The prayer, how- 
ever, is supposed to have answered the purpose, and the 
story goes on, (taking up at the same time the cant lan- 
guage of a Bible prophet,) saying: "TA« Lord spake unto 
iheJUk^ and it vomited out Jonah upon dry land." 

Jonah then received a second mission to Nineveh, with 
which he sets out; and we have now to consider him as a 
preacher. The distress he is represented to have suffered, 
the remembrance of his own disobedience as the cause of it, 
and the miraculous escape he is supposed to have had, were 
sufficient, one would conceive, to have impressed him with 
sympathy and benevolence in the execution of his mission; 
but, instead of this, he enters the city vrith denunciation and 
malediction in his mouth, crying: " Yet forty days, and 
Kineveh shall be overthrown." 

We bare now to consider this supposed mis^onary m Xbib 



PAKt m} no AOK OF XBAtOH. Hi 

last act of his mission; and here it is that the maleTolent 
spirit of a Bible-prophet, or of a predicting priest, appears is 
ill that blackness of character that men ascribe to tne beixi|^ 
they call the devil. 

Having published his predictions, he withdrew, says th« 
story, to the east side of the city. But for what? not to con- 
template, in retirement, the mercy of his Creator to himself 
or to others, but to wait, with malignant impatience, the 
destruction of Nineveh. It came to pass, however, as the 
stonr relates, that the Ninevites reformed, and that God, ao- 
coroing to the Bible-phrase, repented him of the evil he had 
said he would do unto them, and did it not. This, saith the 
first verse of the last chapter, displeased Joimh exceedinalf 
and he was very angry. His obdurate heart would rathw 
that all Nineven should be destroyed, and every soul, young 
and old, perish in its ruins, than that his precuction should 
not be fulfilled. To expose the character of a prophet stili 
more, a gourd is made to grow up in the night, that promises 
him an a^eeable shelter from the heat of the sun, in the 
place to which he is retired; and the next morning it dies. 

Here the rage of the prophet becomes excessive, and he 
is ready to destroy himself. " It is better, said he, for me to 
die than to live." This brings on a supposed expostulation 
between the Almighty and the prophet; in which the former 
says, ." Dost thou well to be angry for the gourd? And Jonah 
said, I do well to be angry even unto death; then said the 
Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for which thou hast 
not labored, neither maaest it to grow, which came up in a 
night, and perished in a night; and should not I spare Nine- 
ven, that great city, in which are more than threescore thous- 
and persons, that cannot discern between their right hand 
and their left?* 

Here is both the winding up of the satire, and the moral 
of the fable. As a satire, it strikes against the character ol 
all the Bible prophets, and against all the indiscriminate 
judgments upon men, women and children, with which this 
lying book, tne Bible, is crowded; such as Noah's flood, the 
aestruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, the ex- 
tirpation of the Oanaanites, even to sucking infants, and 
women with child, because the same reflection, t?uU there are 
more than three-score thettsand persons that cannot diseem 
> < ft g o < w tMr right hand and their l^ meaning yoopg 



lli noi ▲•> OF msAsov. [vaktil 

ddldren, applies to all their oases. It satirizes, also, the sup- 
posed parnality of the Creator for one nation more than for 



As a moral, it preaches a^inst the malevolent spirit of 
prediotion; for, as oertainlj as a man predicts ill, he becomes 
tnolined to wish it. The pride of having his judgment right 
hardens his heart, till at last he beholds with satisfaction, or 
sees with disappointment the accomplishment or the failure 
of his predictions. This book ends with the same kind of 
strong and well-directed point against prophets, prophecies 
and indiscriminate judgments as the chapter that Benjamin 
Franklin made for the Bible, about Abraham and the stranger, 
ends against the intolerant spirit of religious persecution. 
Thus much for the book Jonah. 

Of the poetical parts of the Bible that are called prophe- 
cies, I have spoken in the former part of the Age of Meason^ 
and already in this, where I have said that the word jt?ropA«/ 
is the Bible word for poet, and that the flights and metaphors 
of those poets, many of which have become obscure by the 
lapse of time and the change of circumstances, have been 
rioiculously erected into things called prophecies, and applied 
to purposes the writers never thought of. When a priest 
quotes any of those passages, he unriddles it agreeably to his 
own views, and imposes that explanation upon his congrega- 
tion as the meaning of the writer. The Whore qf Babylon 
has been the common whore of all the priests, and each has 
accused the other of keeping the strumpet — so well do they 
agree in their explanations. 

There now remain only a few books, which they call 
books of the lesser prophets; and, as I have already shown 
that the greater are impostors, it would be cowardice to dis- 
turb the repose of the little ones. Let them sleep, then, in 
the arms of their nurse8,l;he priests, and both be forgotten 
toffether. 

I have now gone through the Bible, as a man ' would go 
through a wood with an axe on his shoulder, and fell Ixees. 
Here tiiey lie; and the priests, if they can, may replant 
them. They may, perhaps, stick them in the grouno, but 
they will never make them grow. I pass on to the books of 
Ui« Now Testamont. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT. 



The New Testament, thej tell lu, is founded «poii tlie 
prophecies of the Old; if so, it must follow tlia fata of its 
foundation. 

As it is nothing extraordinarj that a woman should be 
with child before she is married, and that the son she might 
bring forth should be executed, even unjustly, I see no 
reason for not believing that such a woman as Mary, and 
such a man as Joseph, and Jesus, existed; their mere exist- 
ence is a matter of indifference about which there is no 
ground either to believe or to disbelieve, and which coosas 
under the common head of Tt may be %0y and fohoU then f 
The probability, however, is that there were such persons, 
or at least such as resembled them in part of the circum- 
stances, because almost all romantic stories have been sug- 
gested by some actual circumstance; as the adventiires of 
Robinson Crusoe, not a word of which is true, were sug- 
gested by the case of Alexander Selkirk. 

It is not the existence, or non-existence, of the persons 
that I trouble myself about; it is the fable of Jesus Christ, 
ss told in the New Testament, and the wild and visionary 
doctrine raised thereon, against which I contend. The story, 
taking it as it is told, is blasphemously obscene. It gives an 
account of a young woman engaged to be married, and, 
while under this engagement, she is, to speak plain language, 
debauched by a ghost, under the impious pretense (Luke, 
chap, i., ver. 35,) that " the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, 
and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee." Not- 
withstanding which Joseph afterwards marries her, cohabits 
with her as his wife, and in his turn rivals the ghost. This 
is putting the story into intelligible language, and, when told 
in this manner, there is not a priest but must be sshamed to 
own it.* 

* Mary, til* rappoted viriia mother of J«nu, kad Mwni •ttM* 
ts4 dAss^ters. %m M«tt., <Ai«p. zilL, N(^ St. 

va 



lli m ▲«■ ow SMA80S. [:rijrfiL 

Obfloenity in matters of faith, however wrapped up, u 
tXwKj* a token of fable and imposture; for it is necessary 
to our serious belief in God, that we do not connect it with 
stories that run, as this does, into ludicrous interpretations. 
This storj is, upon the face of it, the same kind of story as 
that of Jupiter and Leda, or Jupiter and Europa, or any of 
the amorous adventures of Jupiter; and shows, as is already 
stated in the former part of the Age of Reason^ that the 
Christian faith is built upon the heathen mythology. 

As the historical parts of the New Testament, so far as 
concerns Jesus Christ, are confined to a very short space of 
time, less than two years, and all within the same country, 
and nearly in the same spot, the discordance of time, place 
and circumstance, which detects the fallacy of the books of 
the Old Testament, and proves them to be impositions, can- 
not be expected to be found here in the same abundance. 
The New Testament compared with the Old, is like a farce 
of one act, in which there is not room for very numerous 
violations of the unities. There are, however, some glaring 
conditions, which, exclusive of the fallacy of the pretended 

Crophecies, are sufficient to show the story of Jesus Christ to 
e false. 
I lay it down as a position which cannot be controverted, 
first, that the agreement of all the parts of a story does not 
prove that storv to bo true, because the parts may agree, and 
the whole may be false; secondly, that the disagreement of the 
parts qi a story proves the whole cannot be true. The agree- 
ment does not prove truth, but the disagreement proves false- 
hood positively. 

The histoiy of Jesus Christ is contained in the four books 
ascribed to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The first chap- 
ter of Matthew begins with giving a genealogy of Jesus Christ, 
and in the third chapter of Luke there is given a genealogy of 
Jesus Christ. Did these two agree, it would not prove the gene- 
alogy to be true, because it might, nevertheless, j^e a fabri- 
cation ; but as they contradict each other in every particular, 
it proves falsehood absolutely. If Matthew speaks truth, 
Luke speaks falsehood; and if Luke speaks truth, Matthew 
speaks falsehood; and as there is no authority for believing 
one more than the other, there is no authority for believing 
either; and if thev cannot be believed even in the verr first 
t^iig thej say, sua set out to prove, they «• Bot «atilled to 



FAsrizJ 



VBM AeS 07 BSAflOH; 



119 



he beliered in anything they say afterwards. Truth is an 
aniform thinff; and as to inspiration and revelation, were we 
to admit it, it is impossible to suppose it can be contradictory. 
Either, then, the men called apostles are impostors, or the 
books ascribed to them hare been written by other persons, 
and fathered upon them, as is the case with the Old Testa- 
ment. 

The book of Matthew gives, chap. L, rer. 6, a genealogy 
by name from David, up through Joseph, the husband of 
Mary, to Christ ; and makes there to be twenty-eight genera- 
tions. The book of Luke gives also a genealogy by name 
from Christ, through Joseph, the husband of Mary, down to 
David, and makes there to h^ forty-three generations; besides 
which, there are only the two names of David and Joseph 
that are alike in the two lists. I here insert both genealog- 
ical lists, and for the sake of perspicuity and comparison, 
have placed them both in the same directioni that is, from 
Joseph down to David. 



Cknealosy, aceordlof to 

Matthew. 
Christ. 

5 Joseph, 
t Jacob. 

4 Matthaa. 

6 Eleazer* 
6 Eliud. 

T Achim. 

8 Sadoc. 

9 Azor. 

10 Eliakim. 

11 Abiud. 

12 ZorobabeL 
18 BalathieL 

14 JechonlUb 

15 Josias. 

16 Amon. 

17 Manasses. 

18 Ezekias. 

19 Achaz. 

20 Joatham. 
%\ Ozas. 

n Joram. 
18 Josimlial 
84 



QeaealogT, aecoidiiif 8e 
jLoke. 
Christ 
% Joseph, 
t HelL 
4 Matthat 
8 Levi 
8 MelchL 

7 Janna. 

8 Joseph. 

9 Mattathiaa. 

10 Amofl^ 

11 Naom. 
IS Esli. 
18 Nagffo. 

14 Maath. 

15 MattaOdaa. 

16 8emeL 

17 Joseph. 

18 Jada. 

19 Joanna. 

80 Rhesa. 

81 ZorobabdL 
98 BalathieL 
88Neri 
84MeteU. 



12^ THS A0B or MEAMOW^ [PJLXT II. 

9flBeft!orr, fteoordisf le Ckneftlogr, ftoeordlag t» 

UftttJbew. Lnkt. 

85 Abia. 85 Addl. 

JW Robocm. 86 Cosam. 

37 Sol<ym<». 27 Elmodaiai 

88 BaTid.* 28 £f . 

80 EliezoK 

81 Jorim. 

82 MatthAi 
88 Levi. 

84 BlmeoB. 

85 Juda. 

86 Joseph* 

87 Jonan. 

88 ElakioL 

89 Melea. 

40 Menan. 

41 MattatlUL 

42 Kathan. 
a DaTid. 

Now, if these men, Matthew and Luke, set out wltl^ a 
6iJi^hood between them (as these two accounts show they 
do) in the yery commencement of their history of Jesus 
Christ, and of whom, and of what he was, what authority 
(as I have before asked) is there left for believing the strange 
things they tell us afterwards? If they cannot be believed 
in their account of his natural genealogy, how are we to 
believe them when they teU us he was the son of God, be- 
gotten by a ghost., and that aa angel announced this in 
secret to his mother? If they Ued in one genealogy, why 
are we to believe them in the other? If his natural be 
manufactured, which it certainly is, why are not we to sup- 
pose that his celestial genealogy is manufactured also, and 
that the whole is fabulous? Can any man of serious reflec- 
tion hazard his future happiness upon the belief of a story 
naturally impossible, repugnant to every idea of decency, 

• Froa the birth of DaTid to the birth of Christ Is upwards of ICSOje&n, and Zt» 
Ute lifetime of Christ la not Included, there are but 87 ftill generations. To ftnd. 
therefore, the averaj^e of each person mentioned in the list at the time his flrst 
«OA was bom, it is onlj necessary to divide 1080 by 27, which gives 40 rears for 
each person. As the lifotime of man was then but of the same extent it is now. It 
is an absurdity to suppose that 27 following generations should all be old bacne- 
]aru before they married ; and the more so when we are told that Solomon, Um 
2ext ia succession to David, had a house full of wives and mistresses before ht 
wa« Si years of age. Bo far from this genealoev betn^ a solemn truths It Is aol 
trea a reasonable li«. Th« lii^ of Luke gives aoont Mj—a for tk« avciftte ifi^ 
iMl tbia !• teo maeli. 



PAST n.] THB AM OF BBAflOB; lil 

and related by persons already detected of falsehood? Is 

it not more safe that we stop ourselves at the plain, pure and 
unmixed belief of one God, which is deism, than that we 
commit ourselves on an ocean of improbable, irrational, inde- 
cent and contradictory tales? 

The first question, however, upon the books of the New 
Testament, as upon those of the Old, is, are they genuine? 
Were they written by the persons to whom they are ascribed? 
for it is upon this ground only that the strange things related 
therein have been credited. Upon this point there is no 
direct proof for or against^ and all that this state of a case 

E roves is d(mbtfulness^ and doubtfulness is the opposite of 
eiief. The state, therefore, that the books are in proves 
against themselves, as far as this kind of proof can go. 

But, exclusive of this, the presumption is that the books 
called the Evangelists, and ascribed to Matthew, Mark, Luke 
and John, were not written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and 
John; and that they are impositions. The disordered state 
of the history in these four books, the silence of one book 
upon matters related in the other, and the disagreement that 
is to be found among them, implies that they are the pro- 
duction of some unconnected individuals, many years after 
the things they pretend to relate, each of whom made hiaj 
own legend; and not the writings of men living intimatelyj 
together, as the men called apostles are supposed to have\ 
done; in fine, that they have been manufactured, as thej l 
books of the Old Testament have been, by other persons ; 
than those whose names they bear. 

The story of the angel announcing what the church calls 
the immaculate conception is not so much as mentioned 
in the books ascribed to Mark and John, and is differ- 
ently related in Matthew and Luke. The former says the 
angel appeared to Joseph; the latter says it was to Mary; 
but either, Joseph or Mary, was the worst evidence that 
could have been thought of; for it was others that should 
have testified for them,^ and not they for themselves. 
Were any girl that is now with child to say, and even to 
swear it, that she was gotten with child by a ghost, and 
that an angei told her so, would she be believed? Certainly 
she would not. Why then are we to believe the same thing 
of another girl whom we never saw, told by nobody knowi 
who, nor when, noc where? How strange and inconsiaietit 



Ifii TBI AAS OV SRASOV. {TAMUL 

\m it, ^t tke same Qirouinstance that would weaken the be- 
lief even of a probable storjr, should be given as a motive 
for believing this one, that has upon the face of it ererr 
token of absolute impossibility and imposture? 

The story of Herod destroying all the children under two 
years old, belongs altogether to the book of Matthew; not 
one of the rest mentions anything about it. Had suoh a oir- 
cumstanoe been true, the universality of it must have made 
it known to all the writers; and the thing would have been 
too striking to have been omitted by any. This writer tells 
us, that Jesus escaped this slaughter, because Joseph and 
Mary were warned by an angel to flee with him into Egpyt; 
but he forgot to make any provision for John who was then 
under two years of age. John, however, who staid behind, 
fared as well as Jesus, who fled; and, therefore, the story 
oiroumstantially belies itself^ 

Not any two of these writers agree in reciting, excutlyin 
ihe same toards^ the written inscription, short as it is, which 
they tell us was put over Christ when he was crucified; and 
besides this, Mark says. He was crucified at the third hour 

inine in the morning;) and John says it was the sixth hoar, 
twelve at noon.*) 
The inscription is thus stated in those books: 

Matthew — This is Jesus the king of the Jewii 

Mark The kins of the Jews. 

Luke This is iSe king of the Jews. 

John Jesus of Nazareth king of the Jewi. 

We may infer from these circumstances, trivial as they are, 
that those writers, whoever they were, and in whatever time 
they lived, were not present at the scene. The only <Mie of 
the men, called apostles, who appears to have been near the 
spot, was Peter, and when he was accused of being one of 
Jesus' followers, it is said, (Matthew, chap. xxvi. ver. 74) 
"Then Peter began to curse and to swear, saying, I know 
not the manl" yet we are now called upon to believe th€ 
same Peter, convicted, by their own account, of per^vtrj, 
For what reason, or on what authority, shall we do this? 

The accounts that are given of the circumstances, thatth«y 

*Aeeordiiigt<» John, tii* sentence was not passed ttli about the dxtU k(»i^ 

Sk,) and^ oonseqnentlr, the execntioai coala not be till the afternoon ; bat 
; saj* eacpresslr, that be was crucified JtX the third hour (nine Ui tho : 
9M9, Xf . SB^ John eh^p. ziz. ter. li. 



PAsrn.] vta Aes of skasox. ISS 

tell va ftttended the emoifizioii, are differenti j related ia those 
four books. 

The book ascribed to Matthew says, ** There was darkness 
over all the land from the sixth hour unto the ninth hour — 
that the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to 
the bottom — that there was an earthquake — that the rocks 
rent — that the graves opened, that the bodies of many of the 
saints that slept arose and came out of their graves after the 
resurrection, and went into the holy city and appeared unto 
many." Such is the account which tms dashing writer of 
the book of Matthew gives, but in which he is not supported 
by the writers of the other books. 

The writer of the book ascribed to Mark, in detailing the 
(arcumstanoes of the crucifixion, makes no mention of any 
earthquake, nor of the rocks rending, nor of the graves 
opening, nor of the dead men walking out. The writer of 
the book of Luke is silent also upon the same points. And 
as to the writer of the book of John, though he details all 
the circumstances of the crucifixion down to the burial of 
Christ, he says nothing about either the darkness — the veil 
<rf the temple — the earthquake — the rocks — the graves nor 
the dead men. 

Now if it had been true, that those things had happened; 
end if the writers of these books had lived at the time they 
did happen, and had been the persons they are said to be, 
namely, the four men called apostles, Matthew, Mark, Luke 
and John, it was not possible for them, as true historians, 
even without the aid of inspiration, not to have recorded 
them. The things, supposing them to have been facts, were 
of too much notoriety not to have been known, and of too 
much importance not to have been told. All these sup- 
posed apostles must have been witnesses of the earthquake, 
if there had been any; for it was not possible for them to 
. have been absent from it; the opening of the graves and 
resurrection of the dead men, and their walking about the 
city is of greater importance than the earthquake. An 
earthquake is always possible, and natural, and proves 
nothing; but this opening of the graves is supernatural, 
uid directly in point to their doctrine, their cause, and 
their apostleship. Had it been tme, it would have filled 
«p whole chapters of Ihose books, uid been the ehosen 
theme and general chorus of all the writen; b«t instead of 



IM m AOB OF BBAfOV. [FAST tE» 

this, little''and trlTiAl things, and mere prattling oonrersationf 
of, he said this and she said that, are often temouslj detailed, 
while this most important of all, had it been true, is passed 
off in a slovenly manner by a single dash of the pen, and 
that bj one writer only, and not so much as hinted at bj 
th« rest. 

It is an easjr thing to tell a lie, but it is difficult to support 
the lie after it is told. The writer of the book of Matthew 
should have told us who the saints were that came to life 
again, and went into the city, and what became of them 
afterwards, and who it was that saw them; for he is not hardy 
enough to say that he saw tliem himself ; whether they came 
out naked and all in natural buff, he-saints and she-saints; 
or whether they came full dressed, and where they ffot their 
dresses; whether they went to their former habitations, and 
reclaimed their wires, their husbands, and their property, 
and how they were received; whether they entered eject- 
ments for the recovery of their possessions, or brought 
actions of crim, eon. against the rival interlopers; whether 
they remained on earth, and followed their former occupation 
of preaching or working; or whether they died again, or 
went back to their graves alive, and buried themselves. 

Strange indeed, that an army of saints should return to 
life, and nobody know who they were, nor who it was that 
saw them, and that not a word more should be said upon the 
subject, nor these saints have anything to tell us 1 Had 
it been the prophets who (as we are told) had formerly 
prophesied of these things, they must have had a great deal 
to say. They could have told us everything, and we should 
have had posthumous prophecies, with notes and commen- 
taries upon the first, a little better, at least, than we have 
now. Had it been Moses, and Aaron, and Jpshua, and 
Samuel, and David, not an unconverted Jew had remained 
in all Jerusalem. Had it been John Uie Baptist, and the 
saints of the time then present, everybody would have 
known them, and they would have out-preached and out- 
famed all the other apostles. But, instead of this, these 
saints are made to pop up, like Jonah's gourd in the night| 
for no purpose at all but to wither in the morning. Thus 
much for this part of the story. 

The tale of the resurrection follows that of the orucifix- 
lon; and in ibis •• well as in that, the writors, whoorer tli«y 



fASat IL] Tin AGS 07 MUSOW. 125 

were, disagree so muck, as to make it erident that none of 
them were there. 

The book of Matthew states that when Christ was put in 
the sepulchre, the Jews applied to Pilate for a watch or a 
ffuard to be placed over the sepulchre, to prevent the body 
being stolen by the disciples ; and that, in consequence of 
this request, the sepulchre was made sure^ sealing the stone 
that covered the mouth, and setting a watch. But the other 
books say nothing about this application, nor about the seal- 
ing, nor the guard, nor the watch; and, according to their 
accounts, there were none. Matthew, however, follows up 
this part of the story of the guard or the watch with a second 
part, that I shall notice in the conclusion, as it serves to 
detect the fallacy of those books. 

The book of Matthew continues its account, and says, 
(chap, xxviii., ver. 1,) that at the end of the Sabbath, as it 
began to dawn, towards the first day of the week, came Mary 
Magdalene and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre. Mark 
says it was sun-rising, and John says it was dark. Luke 
says it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna, and Mary the 
mother of James, and other women, that came to the 
sepulchre; and John states that Mary Magdalene came alone. 
So well do they agree about their first evidence I thev all, 
however, appear to have known most about Mary Magdalene; 
she was a woman of large acquaintance, and it was not aa 
ill conjecture that she might be upon the stroll. 

The book of Matthew goes on to say, (ver. 2,) •'And 
behold there was a great earthquake, for the angel of the 
Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the 
stone from the door, and sat upon it.** But the other books 
say nothing about any earthquake, nor about the angel roll- 
ing back the stone, and sitting upon it; and, according to 
their account, there was no angel sitting there. Mark says 
the angel was within the sepulchre, sitting on the right side. 
Luke says there were two, and they were both standing up; 
and John says they were both sitting down, one at the head 
and the other at the feet. 

Matthew says, that the angel that was sitting upon the 
stone on the outside of the sepulchre, told the two Marya 
that Christ was risen, and that the women went away 
quickly. Mark says, that the women, upon seeing the 
ftone rolled awaj, and wondering at it, went into the sep- 



lit TttX AOB OP SSAflOil. [pAKf H. 

olelire, tad that it was the angel that was sitling within 
on the right side, that told them so. Luke says it was the 
two ai^els that were standing up; and John says it was 
Jesus Christ himself that told it to Mary Magdalene; and 
that she did not go into the sepulchre, but onlj stooped 
down and looked in. 

Now, if the writers of these four books had g^ne into a 
court of justice to prove an alibiy (for it is of the nature of 
an alibi that is here attempted to be proved, namely, the 
absence of a dead body by supernatural means,) and had 
they ffiven their evidence in the same contradictory manner 
as It IS here given, they would have been in danger of hav- 
ing their ears cropped for perjury, and would have justly 
deserved it. Yet this is the evidence, and these are the 
books that have been imposed upon the world as being 
given by divine inspiration, and as the unchangeable word 
of God. 

The writer of the book of Matthew, after giving this 
account, relates a story that is not to be founa in any of 
^e other books, and which is the i^me I have just before 
alluded to. 

** Now," says he, (that is, after the conversation the women 
had had with the angel sitting upon the stone,) •* behold 
some of the watch (meaning the watch that he had said had 
been placed over the sepulchre) came into the city, and 
showed unto the chief priests all the things that were done; 
and when they were assembled with the elders, and had 
taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, say- 
ing, Say ye that his disciples came by night, and stole him 
away while we slept/ and if this come to the governor's ears 
we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the 
money, and did as they were taught; and this saying (that 
his disciples stole him away) is commonly reported among 
the Jews until this day." 

The expression, until this day^ is an evidence that the 
book ascribed to Matthew was not written by Matthew, and 
that it has been manufactured long after the times and things 
of which it pretends to treat; for the expression, implies a 
great length of intervening time. It would be inconsistent 
in us to speak in this manner of anything happening in our 
own time. To give, therefore, intelligible meaning to the 
9aLfxmaa&n^ we must suppose a lapse oi some gene^atil(»u^ at 



least, for this manner of speaking oarries the mind baok to 
anoient time. 

The absurdity, also, of the story is worth notioinff; fw it 
shows the writer of the book of Matthew to have been an 
exceedingly weak and foolish man. He tells a story that 
contradicts itself in point of possibility; for, though the 
^ard, if there were any, might be made to say that the 
body was taken away while they were asleep^ and to give 
that as a reason for their not having prevented it, that same 
sleep must also have prevented their knowing how, and by 
whom it was done; and yet they are made to say that it was 
the disciples who did it. Were a man to tender his evi- 
dence of something that he should say wag done, and of 
the manner of doing it, and of the person who did it, while 
he was asleep, and could know nothing of the matter, suob 
evidence could not be received; it will do well enough for 
Testament evidence, but not for anything where truth is con- 
cerned. 

I come now to that part of the evidence in ^ose books 
that respects the pretended appearance of Christ after this 
pretended resurrection. 

The writer of the book of Matthew relates that the angel 
that was sitting on the stone at the mouth of the sepul- 
chre said to the two Marys, chap. xx\iii., ver. 7: "Behold, 
Christ is gone before you into Galilee, there ye shall see 
him; lo, I have told you." And the same writer at the 
next two verses, (8, 9,) makes Christ himself to speak to the 
same purpose to these women immediately after the angel 
had told it to them, and that they ran quickly to tell it to 
the disciples; and at the 16th verse it is said, "Then the 
eleven disciples went away into Gallilee, into a mountain 
where Jesus had appointed them; and when they saw him, 
they worshiped him." 

But the writer of the book of John tells us a story rery 
different to this; for he says, chap, xx., ver. 19: "Then ^e 
same day, at evening, being the first day of the week, (that 
is, the same day that Christ is said to have risen,J when tlw» 
doors were shut, where the disciples were assembled, for fear 
of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst of them.** 

According to Matthew, the eleven were marching to GW- 
flee, to meet Jesus in a mountain, by his own appointmenti 
■t tkt T«7 tUM when, according to John, they were 



Its THB A&m or BBA0OV. [PAX? O. 

hied in another place, and tlml not by appointment, but is 
secret, for fear of the Jews. 

The writer of the book of Luke contradicts that of Mat- 
thew more pointedly than John does; for he says expressly 
that the meeting was in Jerusalem^ the evening of the same 
day that he (Christ) rose, and that the eleven were there. 
See Luke, chap. xxiv. ver. 13, 33. 

Now, it is not possible, unless we admit these supposed 
disciples the right of willful lying, that the writer of these 
books could be any of the eleven persons called disciples; 
for if, according to Matthew, the eleven went into Galilee to 
meet Jesus in a mountain by his own appointment, on the 
same day that he is said to have risen, Luke and John must 
have been two of that eleven; yet the writer of Luke says 
expressly, and John implies as much, that the meeting was 
that same day, in a house in Jerusalem; and, on the other 
hand, if, according to Luke and John, the eleven were assem- 
bled in a house in Jerusalem, Matthew must have been one 
of that eleven; yet Matthew says the meeting was in a moun- 
tain in Galilee, and consequently the evidence given in those 
books destroys each other. 

The writer of the book of Mark says nothing about any 
meeting in Galilee; but he says, chap. xvL ver. 12; that 
Christ, after his resurrection, appeared in another form to 
two of them, as they walked into the country, and that these 
two told it to the residue, who would not believe them. 
Luke also tells a story, in which he keeps Christ employed 
the whole of the day of this pretended resurrection, 
iintii the evening, and which totally mvalidates the account 
of goiiig to the mountain in Galilee. He says, that two of 
them, without saying which two, went that same day to a 
village called Emmaus, threescore furlongs (seven miles and 
a half j from Jerusalem, and that Christ, in disguise, went 
with tnem, and staid with them unto the evening, and supped 
with them, aud then vanished out of their sight, and re-ap- 
peared that same evening at tlie meeting of the eleven in 
Jerusalem. 

This is the contradictory manner in which the evidenoe of 
this pretended re-appearance of Christ is stated; the only 
point in which the writers agree, is the skulking privacy of 
that re-appearance; for whether it was in the recess of a 
Mowatain m Qalileei or ia a shut-up house in Jerusalem^ it 



PJLBT n.] TH2 A&E 07 BBJJ90V. 129 

was «till skulking. To what cause then are we to assign this 
ikulking? On the one hand, it is directly repugnant to the 
■upp(»ed or pretended end — that of convincing the world 
tha.t Christ was risen; and, on the other hand, toliave assert- 
ed the publicity of it, would have exposed the writers of 
those books to public detection,. and, therefore, they have 
been under the necessity of making it a private affair. 

As to the account of Christ being seen by more than five 
hundred at once, it is Paul only who says it, and not the five 
hundred who say it for themselves. It is, therefore, the tes- 
timony of but one man, and that too of a man, who did not, 
according to the same account, believe a word of the matter 
himself, at the time it is said to have happened. His evi- 
dence, supposing him to have been the writer of the 15th 
ohapter of Corinthians, where this account is given, is like 
that of a man who comes into a court of justice to swear, 
that what he had sworn before is false. A man may often 
see reason, and he has, too, always the right of changing 
his opinion; but this liberty does not extend to matters ol 
liact. 

I now come to the last scene, that of the ascension into 
heaven. Here all fear of the Jews, and of everything else 
must necessarily have been out of the question: it was that 
which, if true, was to seal the whole; and upon which the 
reality of the future mission of the disciples was to rest for 
proofi Words, whether declarations or promises, that passed 
in private, either in the recess of a mountain in Galilee, or in 
a snut-up house in Jerusalem, even supposing them to have 
been spoken, could not be evidence in public; it was there- 
fore necessary that this last scene should preclude the possi- 
bility of demal and dispute; and that it should be, as I have 
stated in the former part of the Age of Heason, as public 
and as visible as the sun at noon- day: at least it ought to 
have been as public as the crucifixion is reported to have 
been. But to come to the point. 

In the first place, the writer of the book of Matthew does 
not say a syllable about it; neither does the writer of the 
book of John. This being the case, is it possible to suppose 
that those writers, who affect to be even minute in other 
matters, would have been silent upon this, had it been truef 
The writer of the book of Mark passes it off in a careless, 
■kyrenly maimer, with a single dash of the pen, as if be WM 



TBM A&B OF BI&A60N. [pABT H. 

tared of romancing, or ashamed of the story. So also does 
the writer of Luke. And even between these two, there is 
not an apparent a^eement, as to the place where this final 
parting is said to nave been. 

The book of Mark says that Christ appeared to the eleven 
HUB they sat at meat; alluding to the meeting of the eleven 
at Jerusalem: he then states the conversation that he sajrs 
passed at that meeting; and immediately after says, (as a 
8chool-boy would finish a dull story,) " So then, after the 
Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven 
%nd sat on the right hand of God." But the writer of Luke 
says, that the ascension was from Bethany; that he (Christ) 
led them out as far as Bethany, and was parted from them 
there, and wa^ carried up into heaven. So also was Mahomet: 
and, as to Moses, the apostle Jude says, ver. 9, That Michael 
and ihe devV disputed about his body. While we believe 
such fables as these, or either of them, we believe unworthily 
of the Almighty. 

I have now gone through the examination of the four 
books ascribed to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; and when 
it is considered that the whole space of time from the cruci- 
fixion to what is called the ascension, is but a few days, 
apparently not more than three or four, and that all the 
circumstances are said to have happened nearly about the 
same spot, Jerusalem; it is, I believe, impossible to find, in 
any story upon record, so many and such glaring absurdities, 
contradictions, and falsehoods, as are in those books. They 
are more numerous and striking than I had any expectation 
of finding, when I began this examination, and far more so 
than I had any idea of when I wrote the former part of the 
Age of Meason. I had then neither Bible nor Testament to 
refer to, nor could I procure any. My own situation, even 
as to existence, was becoming every day more precarious; 
and as I was willing to leave something behind me upon the 
subject, I was obliged to be quick and concise, The quota- 
tions I then made were from memory only, but they are 
correct; and the opinions I have advanced in that work are 
the effect of the most clear and long-established conviction 
that the Bible and the Testament are impositions upon the 
world, that the fall of man, the account of Jesus Christ being 
the Son of God« and of his dying to appease the wrath of 
Gkid, and ol MUTfttion by that strange means, are all fabuions 



> 



FAMrn.] VHH AOB OF B1&A80BI. ISl 

inventions, dishonorable to the wisdom and pow®r of the 
Almighty — that the only true religion is Deism, by which I 
then meant, and now mean, the belief of one God, and aa 
imitation of his moral character, or the practice of what ar« 
called moral virtues — and that it was upon this only (so fur 
as religion is concerned) that I rested all my hopes of hap- 
piness hereafter. So say 1 now — and so help me God. 
^" But to return to the subject. Though it is impossible, 
at this distance of time, to ascertain as a fact who were the 
writers of those four books (and this alone is sufficient to 
hold them in doubt, and where we doubt we do not believe) 
it is not difficult to ascertain negatively that they were nol 
written by the persons to whom they are ascribed. The 
contradictions in those books demonstrate two things: 

First, that the writers cannot have been eye-witnesses and 
ear-witnesses of the matters they relate, or they would have 
related them without those contradictions ; and, conse- 
quently, that the books have not been written by the per- 
sons called apostles, who are supposed to have been witnesses 
of this kind. 

Secondly, that the writers, whoever they were, have not 
acted in concerted imposition, but each writer separately 
and individually for himself, and without the knowledge cm 
the other. 

The same evidence that applies to prove the one, applies 
equally to prove both cases ; that is, that the books were 
not written by the men called apostles, and also that theT 
are not a concerted imposition. As to inspiration, it is 
altogether out of the question; and we may as well attem]>l 
to unite truth and falsehood, as inspiration and oontradio> 
tion. 

If four men are eye-witnesses and ear-witnesses to a scene, 
they will, witjiout any ooncert between them, agree as to 
time and place, when and where that scene happened. Their 
individual knowledge of the thing^ each one knowing it for 
himself, renders concert totally unnecessary; the one will noi 
say it was in a mountain in the country, and the other at s 
house in town: the one will not say it was at sun-rise, and 
the other it was dark. For in whatever place it was, st 
whatever time it was, they know it equally alike. 

And, on the other hand, if four men concert a story, they 
wUi make their separate relations of that story s^ree, IM 



ISf fHX AOB OF BBUBOB. [rumi. 

©oiToborate with each other to support the whole. TliaH 
©on cert supplies the want of fact in the one case, as the 
knowledge of the fact supersedes, in the other case, the 
necessity of a concert. The same contradictions, therefore, 
that prove there has been no concert, prove, also, that the 
reporters had no knowledge of the fact, (or rather of that 
wnich they relate as a fact,) and detect also the falsehood of 
their reports. Those books, therefore, have neither been 
Tnitten by the men called apostles, nor by impostors in con- 
oert. How then have they been written? 

I am not one of those who are fond of believing there is 
much of that which is called willful lying, or lying originally, 
except in the case of men setting up to be prophets, as in 
the Old Testament; for prophesying is lying professionally. 
In almost all other cases it is not difficult to discover tne 
progress by which even simple supposition, with the aid of 
credulity, will, in time, grow into a lie, and at last be told 
as a fact; and, whenever we can find a charitable reason for 
a thing of this kind, we ought not to indulge a severe one. 

The story of Jesus Christ appearing after he was dead, is 
the story of an apparition, such as timid imaginations can 
always create in vision, and credulity believe. Stories of 
this kind had been told of the assassination of Julius Cassar, 
not many years before, and they generally have their origin 
in violent deaths, or in the execution of innocent persons. 
In oases of this land, compassion lends its aid, and benevo- 
lently stretches the story. It goes on a little and a little 
further, till it becomes a most certain truth. Once start a 
ffhc»t, and credulity fills up the history of its life, and assigns 
tne cause of its appearance I one tells it one way, another 
another way, till tnere are as many stories about the ghost, 
and about the proprietor of the ghost, as there are about 
Jesus Christ in these four books. 

The story of the appearance of Jesus Christ is told with 
that strange mixture of the natural and impossible that dis- 
tinguishes legendary tale from fact. He is represented as 
suddenly <K)mmg in and going out when the doors are shut, 
and of vanishing out of sight, and appearing again, as one 
would conceive of an umsubstantial vision; then again he 
tf hungry, sits down to meat, and eats his supper. But 
as those who tell stories of this kind never provide for all 
Ibe fliMes, ao tl it here; they have told us, that when lie 






THB AGB OF REA801S. 18S 

he left Ml grave-clothes behmd hiraj but they have fwgot- 
ten to provide other clothes for him to appear in after- 
wards, or tell to us what he did with them when he ascended, 
whether he stripped all off, or went up clothes and all. In 
the case of Elijah, they have been careful enough to make 
him throw down his mantle; how it happened not to be 
burnt in the chariot of fire they also have not told na. 
But, as imagination supplies all deficienciea of tius kind, 
we may suptST^Clf we please, that it was made of salaman- 
der's wool^70C E C f ^:^ 1 /^^J^4 ^^^ 

Tbescr whoare not maoh acquainted with eeelesiastioal 
history may suppose that the book called the New Testa- 
ment nas existed ever since the time of Jesus Christ, aa they - 
suppose that the books ascribed to Moses have existed evef ^ 4/ 
since the time of Moses. But the fact is historically other- 
wise; there was no such book as the New Testament till 
more than three hundred years after the time that Chritt is 
said to have lived. ^ /' 

At what time the books ascribed to Matthew, Marie, Luke 
and John began to appear is altogether a matter of unoer^ 
tainty. There is not the least shadow of evidence of who 
the persons were that wrote them, nor at what time they 
were written; and they might as well have been called by 
the names of any of the other supposed apostles as by the 
names they are now called. The originals are not in the 
possession of any Christian Church existing, any more th^ 
the two tables of stone written on, thev pretend, by the 
finger of God, upon Mount Sinai, and given to Moses, are 
in the possession of the Jews. And even if they were, there 
is no possibility of proving the handwriting in either case. 
At the time those Dooks were written there was no print' 
ing, and consequently there could be no publication, other- 
wise than by written copies, which any man might make or 
alter at pleasure, and call them originals. Can we suppose 
it is consistent with the wisdom of the Almighty to commit 
himself and his will to man, upon such precarious means as 
these, or that it is consistent we should pin our faith upon 
such uncertainties? We cannot make nor alter, nor even 
imitate, so much as one blade of grass that he has madsii 
and yet we can make or alter words qf Qod as easily as 
words of man.* 

*Vb» fonMT p«rt of tiM A9* if Season kac not )»een pablifihed two jmset, 
ImtimttHj urn «KyHww*ga la tttkat to netmist*. Tkm •x^faakaaiist Tks' 



TMM AOS OF KBUBOV. [PISVII, 

About tkree hundred and fifty years after the time thai 
Christ is said to have lived, several writings of the kind I 
am speaking of were scattered in the hands of divers indi- 
vidaals; and, as the church had begun to form itself into an 
hierarchy, or church government, with temporal powers, it 
set itself about collecting them into a code, as we now see 
them, called Th4 Neio Testament, They decided by vote, 
as I have before said in the former part of the Age ofHeason^ 
which of those writings, out of the collection they had made, 
should be the vord cf God^ and which should not. The Rab- 
bins of the Jews had decided, by vote, upon the books of the 
Bible before. 

As tiiie object of the church, as is the case in all national 
establishments of churches, was power and revenue, and 
terror the means it used, it is consistent to suppose, that 
the most miraculous and wonderful of the writings they 
bad collected stood the best chance of being voted. And as 
to the aathentioitT of the books, the ^ote stands in the plao$ 
^ Up for it can oe traced no higher. 

Dii^utes, however, ran high among the people then calling 
themselves Christians; not only as to points of doctrine, but 
as to ^le authenticity of the books. (In the contest betweoB 
the persons ciJled St. Augustine and Fauste, about the year 
iOO, the latter says, " The books called the Evangelists have 
been oompcHied long after the times of the apostles, by some 
c^^ioure men, who, fearing that the world would not give 
credit to their rela^on of matters of which they could not 
be informed, have published them under the names of the 
i^K^tles; and whicn are so full of sottishness and discord- 
ant relations, that there is neither agreement nor oonneotioB 
between them." 

And in another place, adressing himself to the advocates 
of those books, as being the word of God, he says, ** It is 
thus that your predecessors have inserted in the scriptures 
of our Lord, many things, which, though they carry his name, 

^ Li»k4 iMM earrUd by a majority of 0n4 voiee only. It may be trn«, bnt it to 
Bot I ttiftt bare said It. Borne person who might know the drcamstance. hM 
aided it tB a note at the bottom of the page of some of the editions, printed either 
ta Kag^and &t In America: and the printers, after that, have erected it into tho 
bodr of the work, and made me the author of it. If this has happened wlthia 
MMSfi a short epace of time, notwithstanding the aid of printing, which prereotf 
^M alterayioa of copies iadividnaliy, what may not have happened m mseh 
nealer length oi time, when there wa« no printing, and when any man who cooM 
wrifee coQld BUkln « wnttoaa eopy a»d caII ft aa orlglsal, by Maltfaewt Mwk, liski 



PAST a.] THX AOS OV BEA80X. 1S5 

agree not with his doctrines. This Is not rorprisiiig, tmoi 
mat we have often proved that these things have not been 
written by himself, nor by his apostles, but that for the 
greatest part they are founded upon tales^ upon vague reports^ 
and put together by I know not what, half Jews, with but 
little agreement between them; and which they have neverthe- 
less published under the names of the apostles of our Lord, 
and have thus attributed to them their own errore and their 
lies:"* 

The reader will see by these extracts, that the authen- 
ticity of the books of the New Testament was denied, and 
the books treated as tales, forgeries, and lies, at the time 
they were voted to be the word of God. But the interest of 
the church, with the asistance of the faggot, bore down the 
opposition, and at last suppressed all investigation. Miracles 
followed upon miracles, if we will believe them, and men were 
taught to say they believed, whether they believed or not. 
But (by way of throwing in a thought) the French Revolu- 
tion has excommunicated the ohurcn from the power q£ 
working miracles; she has not been able, with the assistance 
of all her saints, to work one miracle since the revolution 
began; and as she never stood in greater need than now, we 
may, without the aid of divination, conclude that all her 
former miracles were tricks and lies.f 

When we consider the lapse of more than three hundred 

* I hare taken these two extncts from BoQlanger^ b LifS» of PtvL wrtttoB te 
French; Bon i anger has quoted them from the writing* (kT Afigostme mtiatt 
Fftuete, to which he refera. 

t BoQlan^er, In his life of P»«I, hM eollected from the eccIeislBstiesl blBtorles, 
and the wiTtings of the fathers, u ihej are called, several matters which show 
the opiDions tnat prevailed among the diflferent eectp of Chrietiane, at the time 
the Testament, as we now eee it, was voted to be the word of God. The followlB|t 
extracts are from the second chapter of that work : 

**The Marcioniets, (a Christian sect,) assured that the evangelists were filled 
with falsities. The Manlchtens, who formed a very nnmeroua sect at the com- 
mencement of Christianity, rejected a» false., all the New Testament ; and 
showed other writings quite different that they gave for authentic. The Corinthi- 
ans, like the Marciouists, admitted not the Acts of the Apostles. The Encra- 
tites, and the Sevenlans, adopted neither the Acts nor the Epistles of PanL 
Ohryeostom, in a homily which he made upon the Acts of the Apostles, tiays, that 
In his time, about the year 400, many people knew nothing either of the author ov 
of the book. St. IrencL who lived before that time, reports that the Valentin; ans, 
like several other sectc of the Chrietians. accused the scriptures with being 
filled with Imperfections, errors and contradictions. TheEbionltes or Nazarenes. 
who were the first Christians, rejected all the Epletles of Paul, and regarded 
him as an impostor. They report, amoni>; other things, that he was originally a 
Pagan, that he came to Jerusalem, where he lived some time; and that naving a 
mind to marry the daughter of the high priest, he cauped himself to be circum- 
elided; but that cot being able to obtain her, he quarreled with the Jews, and 
wrot« against eircnmdsion, and asalnst tho observation ^ the B«hl»atJh, aa« 
■«s*i>st tSk tlM kgal wdbuuMM.** 



189 THx Aaa or sxabox. [past a 

Tears InterTening between the time that CSirin is said to 
Daye lived and the time the New Testament was formed into 
a book, we must see, even without the assistance of his- 
torical evidence, the exceeding uncertainty there is of 
its autheuticity. The authenticity of the book of Homer, 
so far as regards the authorship, is much better established 
than that of the New Testament, though Homer is a thou- 
Band years the most ancient. It was only an exceeding good 
poet that oould have written the book oi Homer, and, there- 
tore, few men only could have attempted it; and a man capa- 
ble of doing it would not have thrown away his own fame by 
giving it to another. In like manner, there were but few 
that could have composed Euclid's Elements, because none 
but an exceeding good geometrician oould have been the 
author of that work. 

But, with respect to the books of the New Testament, 
particiilarly such parts as tell us of the resurrection and 
ascension of Christ, any person who could tell a story of an 
apparition, or of a mans toalJcing^ could have made such 
books, for the story is most wretchedly told. The chance, 
therefore, of forgery in the Testament is millions to one 
greater than in the case of Homer or Euclid. Of the nu- 
merous priests or parsons of the present day, bishops and all, 
eyery one of them can make a sermon, or translate a scrap 
of LAtin, especially if it has been translated a thousand 
times before; but is there any amongst them that can write 
poetry like Homer, or science like Euclid? The sum total of 
a parson's learning, with very few exceptions, is a i ai, and 
Ate, A«c, Aoe/ and their knowledge of science is three times 
one is three ; and this is more than sufficient to have enabled 
tliem, had they lived at the time, to have written all the 
books of the New Testament. 

As the opportunities for forgeries were greater, so, also, 
was the inducement. A man could gain no advantage by 
writing under the name of Homer or Euclid; if he oould 
write equal to them, it would be better that he wrote under 
his own name; if inferior, he could not succeed* Pride 
would prevent the former, and impossibility the latter. But 
with respect to such books as compose the New Testament, 
all the inducements were on the side of forgery. The best- 
imagined history that could have been made, at the distance 
el two or three hund^-ed years after the time, could not hare 



PASTIZ*] TEE AGS OF UKABOM. 181 

passed for an original under tibe name of ih» real writer; 
the only chance of success lay in forgery, for the ohuroh 
wanted pretense for its new doctrine, and txnth and talenti 
were out of the question. 

But as it is not uncommon (as before obserred) to relate 
stories of persons walking after they are dead, and of ghosts 
and apparitions of such as have fallen by some riolent or 
extraordinary means; and as the people of that day were 
in the habit of beiieying such things, and of the appearance 
of angels, and also of devils, and of their getting into peo- 
ple's insides, and shaking them like a fit of an ague, and of 
their being cast out again as if by an emetic — (Mary Mag- 
dalene, the book of Mark tells us, had brought up, or been 
brought to bed of seyen devils) — ^it was nothing extraordi- 
nary that some story of this kind should get abroad of the 
person called Jesus Christ, and become afterwards the foun- 
dation of the four books ascribed to Matthew, Mark, Luke 
and John. Each writer told the tale as he heard it, or there- 
abouts, and gaye to his book the name of the saint or the 
apostle whom tradition had given aA the eye-witness. It is 
only upon this ground that the contradiction in those books 
can be accounted for; and if this be not the case, they are 
downright impositions, lies and forgeries, without iyen Uie 
apology of credulity. 

That they have been written by a sort of half Jews, as ^ 
foregoing quotations mention, is discernible enough. The 
frequent references made to that chief assassin and impostcnr, 
Moses, and the two men called prophets, establishes this 
point; and, on the other hand, Ibe church has complimented 
the fraud by admitting the Bible i?;;d the Testament to reply 
to each other. Between the Chr^tlan Jew and the Christian 
Gentile, the thing called a prophecy, and the thing prophe- 
sied; the type, and the thing typified; the sign, and the 
thing signified^ have been industriously rummaged up, and 
fitted together like old locks and pick-lock key*. The 
story fooushly enough told of Eve and the serpent, and 
naturally enough as to the enmity between men and b€»*- 
pentft, (lor the serpent always bites about the heel^ because 
it cannot reach higher; uid the man always knocks the ser- 
pent about the head^ as the most effectual way to preyentiti 
DitiDg;*) thia foolkh stozy, I say, has been made into a 
••IlifeailralM«rik«Ml,«idlkMfteltteiilMktoAMe.** QommK itepi lUU 



188 THX AOB or BXAflOH. [PAST IK. 

proplieoj, a type, and a promiae to begin with; and the lying 
UBiposition of Isaiah to Ahaz, Thai a virgin shall conceive 
mtd bear a son, as a sign that Ahaz should conc^uer, when 
the eyent was that he was defeated (as already noticed in the 
observations on the book of Isaiah,) hai been perrerted, and 
made to serve aa a winder-iip. 

Jonah and the whale are almost made into a sign or a 
type. Jonah is Jesus, and the whale is the grave; for it is 
said, (and they have made Christ to say it of himself,) Matt, 
ohap. xvii^ ver. 40: ^ For as Jonah was three dayt and tfuree 
mghU in Uie whale's belly, so shall the Son of man be three 
daye and three nights in the heart of the earth.'' But it 
happens, awkwardly enough, that Christ, acoording to their 
own account, was but one dxy and two nights in uie g^ave; 
about 86 hours instead of 72; that is, the Friday night, 
the Saturday, and the Saturday night; for they say he 
was up on the Sunday morning by sunrise, or beU>re. But 
as this fits quite as well as the bite and the kick in Genesis, 
or the virgin and her son in Isaiah, it will pass in the lump 
of orthodox things. Thus much for the historical part of 
the Testament and its evidences. 

Epistles of Paul. — The epistles ascribed to Paul, being 
fourteen in number, almost fill up the remaining part of the 
Testament. Whether those epistles were written by the 
person to whom they are ascribed, is a matter of no great 
importance, since the writer, whoever he was, attempts to 
prove his doctrine by argument. He does not pretend to 
have been witness to any of the scenes told of the resur- 
rection and the ascension, and he declares that he had not 
believed them. 

The story of his being struck to the ground as he was 
journeying to Damascus, has nothing in it miraculous or 
extraordinary; he escaped with life, and that is more than 
many others have done, who have been struck with light- 
ning; and that he should lose his sight for three days, and 
be unable to eat or drink during that time, is nothiiig more 
than is common in such conditions. His companions that 
were with him appear not to have suffered in the same man- ' 
ner, for they were well enough to lead him the remainder of 
the journey; neither did mej pretend to have seen any 
vision. 

The eharaelflff of the penMoi called Paul, aocordingr to the 



n.] TUB ▲»■ ov Hujov. IM 

ft«ooiint gireii of bim, lias in it a great deal of ridienoe and 
fanatioiem; bie had persecuted with as much heat as he 
preached atterwards; the stroke he hadreoeived had changed 
ais thinking, without altering his constitution; and, either 
at a Jew or a Christian, he was the same zealot. Such men 
are never good moral evidences of any doctrine they 
preach. They are always in extremes, as well of action as 
of belief. 

The doctrine he sets out to prove by argument, is the 
resurrection of the same body; and he advances this as an 
evidence of immortality. But so much will men differ in 
their manner of thinking, and in the conclusions they draii 
from the same premises, that this doctrine of the resurreo- 
tion of the same body, so far from being an evidence of im- 
mortality, appears to me to furnish an evidence against it; 
for if I had already died in this body, and am raised again 
in the same body in which I have died, it is presumptive 
evidence that I shall die again. That resurrection no more 
secures me against the repetition of dying, than an ague* 
fit, when past, secures me against another. To believe, 
therefore, m immortality, I must have a more elevated idea 
than is contained in the gloomy doctrine of the resurrection* 

Besides, as a matter of choice, as well as of hope, I had 
rather have abetter body and a more convenient form than 
the present. Every animal in the creation excels us n 
something. The winged insects, without mentioning doves 
or eagles, can pass over more space with greater ease, in a 
few minutes, than a man can in an hour. The glide of the 
smallest fish, in proportion to its bulk, exceeds us in 
motion, almost beyond comparison, and without weariness. 
Even the sluggish snail can ascend from the bottom of a 
dungeon, where a man, by the want of that ability, would 
perish; and a spider can launch itself from the top, as a 
playful amusement. The personal powers of man are so 
limited, and his heavy frame so little constructed to exten- 
sive enjovment, that there is nothing to induce us to wish 
the opimon of Paul to be true. It is too little for the mag- 
nitude of the scene — ^too mean for the sublimity of the sub- 
ject. 

But all other arguments apart, the eonteioumua of exi^ 
enc€ is the only conceivable idea we can have of another 
^si^ and tha continuance of that consciouwiess is immortal- 



140 THB A0B OV BMAflOV. 

itf . The eonsoicnifness of existenoe, or the knowing that 
we exist, is not neoess&rilj confined to the same form, nor to 
the same matter, even in this life. 

We have not in all cases the same form, nor in any case 
the same matter, that composed our bodies twenty or thirty 
years ago; and yet we are conscious of being the same per- 
sons. Even legs and arms which make up almost half the 
human frame, are not necessary to the consciousness of 
existence. These may be lost or taken away, and the full 
consciousness of existence remain; and were their place 
supplied by wings, or other appendages, we cannot con- 
ceiye that it could alter our consciousness of existence. 
In short, we know not how much, or rather how little, of 
our composition it is, and how exquisitely fine that little is, 
that creates in us this consciousness of existence; and all be- 
yond that is like the pulp of a peach, distinct and separate 
from the vegetative spect in the kernel. 

Who can say by what exceeding fine action of fine mattei 
it is that a thought is produced m what we call the mind? 
and yet that thought wnen produced, as I now produce the 
bought I am writing, is capable of becoming immortal, and 
is the only production of man that has that capacity. 

Statues of brass and marble will perish; and statues made 
in imitation of them are not the same statues, nor the same 
workmanship, any more than the copy of a picture is the 
same picture. But print and reprint a thought a thousand 
limes over, and that with materials of any kind— carve it in 
wood, or engrave it on stone, the thought is eternally and 
identically the same thought in every case. It has a capacity 
of unimpaired existence, unaffected by change of matter, 
and Is essentially distinct, and of a nature different from 
everything else tiiat we know or can conceive. If then the 
itAng produced has in itself a capacity of being immortal, it 
is more than a token that the power that produced it, which 
is the self-same thing as consciousness of existence, can be 
immortal also; and that is independently of the matter it was 
first connected with, as the thought is of the printing or 
writing it first appeared in. The one idea is not more diffi- 
cult to believe than the other, and we can see that one is 
true. 

That the oonsoionsness of existence is not dependent on 
the same form or the same matter, it demonstrated to oar 



»ABT n.] THX A0S OV XXA0OV. 141 

•enses in the works of the creation, as far u oar senses are 
capable of receiving that demonstration. A yerj numerous 
part of the animal creation preaches to us, far better than 
Paul, the belief of a life hereafter. Their little life resembles 
an earth and a heaven — a present and a future state: and 
comprises, if it may be so expressed, immortality in minia- 
ture. 

The most beautiful parts of the creation to our eye are the 
winged insects, and they are not so originally. They acquire 
that form, and that inimitable brilliancy by progressive 
changes. The slow and creeping caterpillar- worm of to-day, 
passes in a few days to a torpid figure, and a state resembling 
death; and in the next change comes forth in all the minia- 
ture magnificence of life, a splendid butterfly. No resem- 
blance of the former creature remains; everything is change 
ed; all his powers are new, and life is to him another thing. 
We cannot conceive that the consciousness of existence if 
not the same in this state of the animal as before; why then 
must I believe that the resurrection of the same oody is 
necessary to continue to me the consciousness of existence 
hereafter? 

In the former part of the Age of Heason^ I have called 
the creation the only true and real word of God; and this in- 
stance, of this text, in the book of creation, not only shows 
to us that this thing may be so, but that it is so; and that 
the belief of a future state is a rational belief^ founded upon 
facts visible in the creation: for it is no more difficult to believe 
that we shall exist hereafter in a better state and form than 
at present, than that a worm should become a butterfly, and 
quit the dunghill for the atmosphere, if we did not know it 
as a fact. 

As to the doubtful jargon ascribed to Paul in the 15tb 
chapter of 1 Corinthians, which makes part of the burial ser- 
vice of some Christian sectaries, it is as destitute of meaning 
as the tolling of the bell at a funeral; it explains nothing, to 
the understauading — it illustrates nothing to the imagination, 
bat leaves the reader to find any meaning if he can. ** All 
flesh, (says he,) is not the same flesh. There is one flesh of 
men; another of beasts; another of fishes; and another of 
birdi." And what then? — nothing. A cook could have said 
M nrach. ** There are also, (says he,^ bodies celestial and 
bodiw temitrial; the glcNry of tne celestial k one, and tlie 



142 THE AGE OF REASON. [PABT 11. 

glory of the t6rr«s4rial if anothoi*." And what Qimi? noth- 
ing. And what is the difference f nothing that he hai told. 
"There is (says he) one glory of the sun, and another glory 
of the moon, and another glory of the stars." And what 
then? — nothing; except that he says that "one star differeth 
from another star in glory" instead of distance; and he 
might as well have told us that, the moon did not shine so 
bright as the sun. All this is nothing better than the jargon 
of a conjuror, who picks up phrases he does not understand, 
to confound the credulous people who come to have their 
fortunes told. Priests and conjurors are of the same trada 

Sometimes Paul affects to be a naturalist, and to prove 
his system of resurrection from the principles of vegetation. 
" Thou fool (says he,) that which thou sowest is not quick- 
ened except it die." To which one might reply in his 
own language and say. Thou fool, Paul, that which thou 
sowest is not quickened except it die not; for the grain that 
dies in the ground never does nor can vegetate. It is only 
the livinp" grains that produce the next crop. But the meta- 
phor, in any point of view, is no simile. It is succession, 
and not ressurrection. 

The progress of an animal from one state of being to 
another, as from a worm to a butterfly, applies to this case; 
but this of a grain does not, and shows Paul to have been 
what he says of others — a fool. 

Whether the fourteen epistles ascribed to Paul were writ- 
ten by him or not is a matter of indifference; they are either 
argumentative or dogmatical; and as the argument is defec- 
tive, and the dogmatic part is merely presumptive, it signi- 
fies not who wrote them. And the same may be said for 
the remaining parts of the Testament. It is not upon the 
epistles, but upon what is called the gospel, contained in 
the four books ascribed to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, 
and upon the pretended prophecies, that the theory of the 
church, calling itself the Christian Church, is founded. 
The epistles are dependent upon those, and must follow 
their fate; for, if the story of Jesus Christ be fabulous, all 
reasoning founded upon it as a supposed truth, must fall 
with it. 

W© know from history that one of the principal leaders of 
this church, Athanasius, hved at the time @ the New Testa- 
ment was formed;* and we know, also, from the absurd 
a^cnrdine to the cliurch chronology, in the year 371. 



jargon he htm left ni under the n&me of * oreed, the Aaxuo- 

ter of the men who formed the New Testament; and we 
know, also, from the same history, that the authentioitjr of 
the books of which it is composed was denied at the tune. 
It was upon the vote of such as Athanasius that the Testa- 
ment was decreed to be the word of Grod; and nothing can 
present to us a more strange idea than that of decreeing the 
word of God by vote. Those who rest their faith upon such 
authority, put man in the place of God, and have no foun- 
dation for future happiness; credulity, however, is not a 
crime, but it becomes criminal by resisting conviction. It 
is strangling in the womb of the ccmscience the efforts it 
makes to ascertain truth. We should never force belief 
upon ourselves in anything. 

I here close the subject on the Old Testament and the 
New. The evidence I have produced to prove them for- 
geries is extracted from the books themselves, and acts like 
a two-edged sword, either way. If the evidence be denied, 
the authenticity of the scriptures is denied with it; for it is 
soripture evidence; and if the evidence be admitted, the 
authenticity of the books is disproved. The contradictory 
impossibilities contained in the Old Testament and the New 

gut them in the case of a man who swears for and against, 
lither evidence convicts him of perjury, and equally de- 
stroys reputation. 

Snould the Bible and the Testament hereafter fall, it ii 
not I that have been the occasion. I have done no more 
than extracted the evidence from that confused mass of 
matter with which it is mixed, and arranged that evidence 
in a point of light to be clearly seen and easily compre- 
hended; and, having done this, I leave the reader to judge 
for himself, ■• I hftve j«%ed Uk myselL 



CONCLUSION. 



In the former part of the Age of Reason^ I have spokefi 
of the three frauds, mystery^ miracle^ ku^ prophecy \ and as 
I hare seen nothing in any of the answers to that work, 
that in the least affects what I have there said upon those 
subjects, I shall not encumber this Second Part with addi- 
tions that are not necessary. 

I haye spoken also in the same work upon what is called 
revelation, and have shown the absurd misapplication of 
tiiat term to the books of the Old Testament and the New; 
for certainly revelation is out of the question in reciting 
anything of which man has been the actor or the witness. 
That which a man has done or seen, needs no revelation to 
tell him he has done it, or seen it; for he knows it already; 
Aor to enable him to tell it, or to write it. It is ignorance, 
or imposition, to apply the term revelation in such oases; 
yet the Bible and Testament are classed under this fraudtt- 
lent description of being all revelation. 

Revelation, then, so far as the term has relation between 
God and man, can only be applied to something which God 
reveals of his will -to man ; but though the power of the 
Almighty to make such a communication is necessarily ad- 
mitted, because to that power all things are possible, yet, 
the thing so revealed (if anything ever was revealed, and 
which, by the bye, it is impossible to prove) is revelation to 
the person 9iily to whom it ia made. His account of it to 
another is not revelation; and whoever puts faith in that 
aooount, puts it in the man from whom tne account comes: 
and that man may have been deceived, or may have dreamed 
it; or he may be an impostor, and may lie. There is no 
possible criterion whereby to judge of the truth of what he 
tells; for even the morality of it would be no, proof of rer- 
elatjon. In all such oases the proper answer would h^ 
k k rereaied to me, I will believe it to be a roTo!** 



PAJ» n.] THX AOX OF BXUOV. 145 

tion; but it is not, and cannot be incumbent upon iii« to be- 
lieye it to be a revelation before ; neither is it proper that I 
should take the word of man as the word of God, and put 
man in the place of God." This is the manner in which I 
have spoken of revelation in the former part of the Age of 
Meason; and which, while it reverentially admits revelation 
as a possible thing, because, as before said, to the Almighty 
all things are possible, it prevents the imposition of one man 
upon another, and precludes the wicked use of pretended 
revelation. 

But though, speaking for myself, I thus admit the possi- 
bility of revelation, I totally disbelieve that the Almighty 
ever did communicate anything to man, by any mode of 
speech, in any language, or by any kind of vision, or 
appearance, or by any means which our senses are capable of 
receiving, otherwise than by the universal display of him- 
self in l£e works of creation, and by that repugnance we 
feel in ourselves to bad actions, and disposition to do good 
ones. 

The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid eruel- 
ties, and the greatest miseries, that have afflicted the human 
race, have had their origin in this thing called revelation, 
OfT revealed religion. It has been the most dishonorable 
belief against tae character of the Divinity, the most de- 
structive to morality, and the peace and happiness of man, 
that ever was propagated since man began to exist. It ia 
better, far better, that we admitted, if it were possible, a 
thousand devils to roam at large, and to preach publicly the 
dcKJtrine of devUs, if there were any such, than that we per- 
mitted one such impostor and monster as Moses, Joshua, 
Samuel, and the Bible prophets, to come with the pre- 
tended word of 6od in his mouth, and have credit among us. 

Whence arose all the horrid assassinations of whole na- 
tions of men, women, and infants, with which the Bible \» 
filled; and the bloody persecutions, and tortures unto death, 
and religious wars, that since that time have laid Europe in 
blood and ashes; whence arose they, but from this impioui 
tiling called revealed religion, ana this monstrous belief^ 
that God has spoken to man? The lies of the Bible have 
been the cause of the one, and the lies of the Testament ol 
the other. 

Some ObrktiAns i^retend, that Christksdtj waa not eiteb- 



146 ¥MX AQM OF BBABOH. [pAS? B. 

Mailed by the sword; but of what period of time do they 
speak? It was impossible that twelve men could begin wita 
the sword; they had not the power, but no sooner were the 
professors of Christianity sufficiently powerful to employ 
the sword than they did so, and the stake and faggot, too; 
and Mahomet could not do it sooner. By the same spirit 
that Peter cut off the ear of the high priest's servant 
(if the story be true), he would have cut off his head, and 
the head of his master, had he been able. Besides this, 
Christianity grounds itself originally upon the Bible, and 
the Bible was established altogether by the sword, and that 
in the worst use of it; not to terrify, but to extirpate. The 
Jews made no converts; they butchered all. The Bible is 
the sire of the Testament, and both are called the toord of 
God. The Christians read both books; the ministers preach 
from both books; and this thing called Christianity is made 
xip of both. It is then false to say that Christianity was 
not established by the sword. 

The only sect that has not persecuted are the Quakers; 
and the only reason that can be given for it is, that they 
are rather Deists than Christians. They do not believe 
much about Jesus Christ, and they call the scriptures a dead 
letter. Had they called them by a worae name they had 
been nearer the truth. 

It is incumbent on every man who reverences the chw- 
soter of the Creator, and who wishes to lessen the catalogue 
of artificial miseries, and remove the cause that has sown 
persecutions thick among mankind, to expel all ideas of re- 
vealed religion as a dangerous heresy, and an impious fraud. 
What is it that we have learned from this pretended thing 
called revealed religion? Nothing that is useful to man, 
and everything that is dishonorable to his Maker. What ia 
It the Bible teaches us?— -rapine, cruelty, and murder. What 
Is it liie Testament teaches us? — to believe that the Al- 
mighty committed debauchery with a woman engaged to be 
married? and the belief of this debauchery is callea faitiu 

As to the fragments of morality that are irregularly and 
thinly scattered in those books, they make no part of tibia 
pretended thing, revealed religion. They are the natural 
dictates of ocmscience, and the bonds by which society ii 
held together, acd witJiout which it cannot exist ; aod aM 



PART II.j THE AGE OF REASON. 147 

u«arl7 the Mime in all religions, and in all societies. The 
Testament teaches nothing new upon this subject, and where 
it attempts to exceed, it becomes mean and ridiculous. The 
doctrine of not retaliating injuries, is much better expressed 
in proverbs, which is a collection as well from the Gentiles 
as the Jews, than it is in the Testament. It is there said, 
Proverbs, xxv., ver. 21, "If thine enemy be hungry, give him 
bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, givehim water to drink;"* 
but when it is said, as in the Testament, "If a man smite 
thee on the right cheek turn to him the other also," it is 
assassinating the dignity of forbearance, and sinking man 
into a spaniel. 

Loving enemies is another dogma of feigned morality, and 
has besides no meaning. It is incumbent on man, as a 
moralist, that he does not revenge an injury; and it is 
equally good in a political sense, for there is no end to retal- 
iation, each retaliates on the other and calls it justice; but 
to love in proportion to the injury, if it could be done, would 
be to offer a premium for crime. Besides the word enemies 
is too vague and general to be used in a moral maxim, which 
ought to be always clear and defined, like a proverb. If a 
man be the enemy of another through mistake and prejudice, 
as in the case of religious opinions, and sometimes in politics, 
that man is different to an enemy at heart with a criminal 
intention: and it is incumbent upon us, and it contributes 
to our own tranquillity, that we put the best construction 
upon a thing that it will bear. But even this erroneous 
motive in him, makes no motive for love on the other part; 
and to say that we can love voluntarily, and without a mo- 
tive, is morally and physically impossible. 

Morality is injured by prescribing to it duties, that, in the 

first place, are impossible to be performed; and, if they could 

be, would be productive of evil; or, as before said, be 

* According to what Is called Christ's sermon on the mount, in the book of 
JNIatthew where, among some other good things, a good deal of this feigned 
morality is introduced, it is there expressly said, that the doctrine of forbear- 
ance, or of not retaliatmg injuries, was not any part of the doctrine of the Jews ; 
but as this doctrine is founded in proverbs, it must, according to that state 

the Gentiles, from whom Christ had 



ment, have been copied from the Gentiles, from whom Christ had learned it. 
Tliose men, whom Jewish and Christian idolaters have abusively called 
heathens, had much better and clearer ideas of justice and morality, than are 



Tliose men, whom Jewish and Christian idolaters have abusively called 

" " , ' " "" : " 'ty.fh 

to be found in the Old Testament, so fat as it is Jewish; or in the New. The 



answer of Solon on the question, " Which is the most perfect popular govern- 
ment?" has never been exceeded by any man since his time, as containing a 
maxim of public morality. " That," says he, " where the least injury done to 
the meanest individual, is considered as an insult to the whole constitution," 
bolon lived about 600 years before Christ, 



m AAB Oy BKAJOV. [MLsrn. 

premiumf for orime. The mazim qf doina tu we would fts 
4on4 urUOy does not include this gtranff e oootrine of loyin^ 
enemies; for no man expects to be Toyed himself for his 
orime or for his enmity. 

Those who preach this doctrine of loying their enemies, 
•re in general the greatest persecutors, and the j act consist- 
«ntlj by so doing; for the doctrine is hypocritical, and it is 
natural that hypocrisy should act the reverse of what it 
preaches. For my own part, I disown the doctrine, and 
eonsider it as a feigned or fabulous morality; yet the man 
does not exist that can say I have persecuted him, or any 
man or any set of men, either in the American Revolution, 
or in the French Reyolution; or that I have, in any case, 
returned evil for eviL But it is not incumbent on man to 
reward a bad action with a good one, or to return g^ood for 
evil ; and wherever it is done, it is a voluntary act, and not 
a dnty. It is also absurd to suppose that such doctrine can 
make any part of a revealed religion. We imitate the jnartl 
oharaoter oi the Creator by forbearing with each other, for 
he forbears with all; but this doctrine would imply that he 
loved man, not in proportion as he was good, but as he was 
bad. 

If we eonsider the nature of our eondilion here, we mtut 
see there is no occasion for such a thing as revealed religion. 
What is it we want to know? Does not the creation, the 
univerae we behold, preach to us the existence of an 
Almig^hty power ^at governs and regulates the whole? 
And IS not the evidence that this creation holds out to oar 
senses infinitely stronger than anything we can read in a 
book, that any impostor might make and call the word of 
God? As for monOity, thelmowledge of it exists in every 
man^s ocmscienoe. 

Here we are. The existence of an Almighty power Is 
snffioiently demonstrated to us, though we cannot conceive, 
as it is impossible we should, the nature and manner of its 
existence. We eannot conceive how we came here our- 
selves, and yet we know for a fact that we are here. We 
Brast know also, that the power that called us into being, 
ean, if he please, and when he pleases, call ns to account 
for the manner in which we have Uved here; and, therefore^ 
without seeking any other motive for the belief^ it is ratMr 
dl t» believe that he will, for we know beforehand ilbitA be 



tABT n.] nOB i»X OF mMAMOM. 1A9 



The probability or eren posslbilitr of ih« thing ii aQ 
that we ought to know; for if we knew it as a fact, we should 
be the mere slaves of terror; or belief wovld have no meriti 

and our best actions no virtue. 

Deism then teaches us, without the possibilitj of being 
deceived, all that is necessary or proper to be known. The 
creation is the Bible of the Deist. He there reads, in the 
handwritine of the Creator himself^ the certainty of his exist- 
ence, and the immutability of his power, and all other Bibles 
and Testaments are to him forgeries. The probability that 
we may be called to account hereafter, will, to a reflecting 
mind, have the influence of belief ; for it is not our belief or 
disbelief that can make or unmake the fact. As this is the 
state we are in, and which is proper we should be in, as &ee 
Sffents, it is the fool only, and not the philosopher, or even 
toe prudent man, that would live as if there were no God. 

But the belief of a God is so weakened by being mixed 
with the strange fable of the Christian creed, and with the 
wild adventures related in the Bible, and of the obscurity 
and obscene nonsense of the Testament, that the mind of 
man is bewildered as in a foff. Viewing all these things in 
a oonfused mass, he confounds fact with fable; and as he can- 
not believe all, he feels a disposition to reject all. But the 
belief of a Grod is a belief distinct from all other things and 
ought not to be confounded with any. The notion of a 
Tnnity of Gods has enfeebled the belief of one Qod, A 
multiplication of beliefs acts as a division of belief ; and in 
proportion as anything is divided it is weakened. 

Religion, by such means, becomes a thing of form, instead 
of fact; of notion, instead of principles; morality is banished, 
to make room for an imaginary thmg, called faith, and this 
£aith has its origin in a supposed debauchery; a man is 
preached instead of God; and execution as an object for 
gratitude; the preachers daub themselves with the blood, like 
a troop of assassins, and pretend to admire the brillianoy it 
gives them; they preach a humdrum sermon on the merits 
of the execution; then praise Jesus Christ lor being execut- 
ed, and condemn the Jews for doing it. 

A man, by hearing all this nonsense lumped and preached 
together, confounds the Gt>d of the creation with the im- 
agmed Qod of the Christians, and lives as if there mn 



150 THB AMM OF BMAmOU [FJJW IL 

Of ftU the ffjBtenui of religion that eTwr irore iBTvnted, 
there it ncme more derogatory to the Almighty, m<n« nnedi- 
fpBg to man, more repugnant to reason, and more oontradio- 
torj in itself^ than this thing called Christianity. Too absurd 
for belief, too impossible to convince, and too inconsistent 
for practice, it renders the heart torpid, or produces only 
atheists and fanatics. As an engine of power, it serres the 
purpose of despotism; and as a means of wealth, the ararice 
of priests; but so far as respects the good of man in general, 
it leads to nothing here or hereafter. 

The only religion that has not been invented, and that 
has in it every evidence of divine originality, is pure and 
nmple Deism. It must have been the first, and will prob- 
ably be the last that man believes. But pure and simple 
Deism does not answer the purpose of despotic ffoyem* 
ments. They cannot lay hold of religion as an engme, hixt 
by mixing it with human inventions, and making their ows 
authority a part; neither does it answer the avarice of prietti 
bnt by mcorporating themselves and their functions with i^ 
and becoming, like the government, a party in the system. 
It is this that forms the otherwise mysterious conneotioa 
of ehurch and state; the church humane, and the itate 
tyrannic. 

I Were man impressed as fully and as strongly as he ought 
/to be with the belief of a God, his moral life would be regf* 
iilated by the force of that belief ; he would stand in awe of 
Qtody and of himself, and would not do the thing that could 
not be concealed from either. To give this beuef the fall 
opportunity of force, it is necessary that it act alone. Tbii 
is Deism. 

Bnt when, according to the Christian Trinitarian scheme^ 
one part of God is represented by a dying man, and another 
part called the Holy Ghost, by a flying pigeon, it is impot* 
sible that belief can attach itself to such wud conceits.* 

It has been the scheme of the Christian ohuroh, and ol 
all the other invented systems of religion, to hold man in 
ignorance of the Oreatorj as it is of government to hold man 
in ignorance of his rights. The systems of the one are as 

*T%9 book ealte4 tfe« book &i Matthew* tayv, ckap. 
&h0H 4€»cen4€d In th4 »hap* ^ a dow. It BUg]iit M 
cr««ten)8 are equally hanmees, and the one is as mack 

eih«r. Tbe lecond of Acts, Ter. ^ 8, Baye, that it descended In « »U ^, n i f *<«t 
wimf, In the Bha.i^e ot cloven tengue$ : perbapc it wm dorealkel. MMSMaM 
•t«ti«oii]jfttl(Mrt*leeQfviteiM« and wiasaEtt. 



m. Tar. 1«. tkat Otf JSMr 
wefi hare eald a koom; ttt 
ick a noBcenaieailleM llMi 



£&lse M those of the other, and are oaloulated for mataal 
support. The study of theology, as it stands in ChristiaB 
churohes, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; 
it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authorities; H 
has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and it admits o* 
no ccmclusion. Not anything can be studied as a science, 
without our being in possession of the principles upon which 
it is founded ; and as this is not the case with Christiaa 
theology, it is therefore the study of nothing. 

Instead then of studying theology, as is now done, out 
of the Bible and Testament, the meanings of which books 
are always controverted, and the authenticity of which m 
disproyed, it is necessary that we refer to the Bible of the 
creation. The principles we discover there are eternal, and 
oi divine origin: tiiey are the foundation of all the science 
that exists in the world, and must be the foundation oi 
theology. 

We ean know God only throus^h his works. We cannot 
have a conception of any one attribute, but by following some 
principle that leads to it. We have only a confused idea c^ 
ois power, if we have not the means of oomprehendinjg 
something of its immensity. We can have no idea of hui 
wisdom, but by knowing the order and manner in which it aoti. 
The principles of science lead to this knowledge; for the Crea- 
tor of man is the Creator of science ; and it is through that 
medium that man can see God, as it were, face to face. 

Could a man be placed in a situation, and endowed witk 
the power of vision, to behold at one view, and to oontem* 
plate deliberately, the structure of the universe; to mark the 
movemMits of the several planets, the cause of their varying 
appearances, the imerrin^ order in which they revolve, evea 
to the remotest comet; their connection and dependence on 
eaoh other, and to know the 83rstem of laws established by Uie 
Creator, that governs and regulates the whole; he would then 
oonceive, far beyond what any church theology can teach him, 
the power, the wisdom, the vastness, the munificence, of the 
Creator; he would then see, that all the knowledge man has 
oi WHenoe, and that all the mechanical arts by whioh he 
renders his sitastion comfortable here, are derived fr<»n that 
Bonroe: his mind, exalted by the scene, and convinced by the 
£sot, would increase in gratitude as it increased in knowledge; 
kis religion or ham worship would beoome unitad i^th ttb 



improTement m a man; &ny employment he followed, tiuit 
kad connection with the principles of creation, as every thing 
ei agriculture, of science, and of the mechanical arts, has, 
would teach him more of God, and of the gratitude he owes 
to him, than any theological Christian sermon he now hears. 
Great objects inspire great thoughts; great munificence 
excites great gratitude; but the groveling tales and doctrines 
of the Bible and the Testament are fit only to ezoite con- 
tempt. 

Though man cannot arrive, at least in this life, at the 
actual scene I have described, he can demonstrate it; because 
he has a knowledge of the principles upon which the creation 
Is constructed. We know that the greatest works can be 
represented in model, and that the universe can be repre- 
sented by the same means. The same principles by which 
we measure an inch, or an acre of ground, will measure to 
millions in extent. A circle of an mch in diameter has the 
same geometrical properties as a circle that would circum- 
scribe the universe. The same properties of a triangle that 
will demonstrate upon paper the course of a ship, will do it 
on the ocean; and when applied to what are called the heav- 
enly bodies, will ascertain to a minute the time of an eclipse, 
though these bodies are millions of miles distant from us. 
This knowledge is of divine origin; and it is from the Bible 
of the creation that man has learned it, and not from ^e 
stupid Bible of the church, that teacheth man nothing.* 

All the knowledge man has of science and of machinerr, 
by the aid of which his existence is rendered comfortable 
upon earth, and without which he wouici be scarcely distin- 
guishable in appearance and condition from a common ani- 
mal, comes from the great machine and structure of the 
\miverse. The constant and unwearied observations of our 

• The Bn>le-mftkeni htbre Hndert«keai to glvo ve, In the first chapter of Q^a^ 
Bis, an account of the creation; and in dolus thiB they have demonstrated 
Dothlng but their Ignorance. They make there tcThare been three dars and three 
nights, eyenings and momlngB, before there wae a Bun; when it 1b the pfesenoe 
at abeerjce of a eun that If tne cauee of day ard nlgbt— and what is called his 
rising and settine, that of morning and evening. Besides. It Is a puerile uid 
pitiful idea, to suppose the Almighty to say, "JLet there be light.*' U Is %h» itOr 
peratlve manner ol speaking that a conjuror uses, when he says to his cups and 
Valla, Presto, be gone — and most probably has been taken from It, as Moses and 
his rod are a conjuror and his wand. Longlnus calls this expression tfe« 
sublime; and by the same rule the conjuror is ssblime too; for the manner ol 
•peaking is expressively and grammatically the same. When authors and critioi 
talk of tite sublime, they see not how nearly it bord»rB on the rldicnloas. Th« 
mblime of the critics, like some parts of Edmnnd Barkers rabllmasnd beKotiftil, 
to like a wind-mill Jost visible in a fog, which imagination mUgxt dlirtMt teto • 
fljrlni; Monntsio, m an archaageL & a fio<^ of wtid geoM. 



PABV ZL] Tn AeX OF BXASOH. 118 

KioesUyn upon the moyements and reyolutions of the hea<f enl 
bodies, in what are supposed to have been the early agei "l^o£ 
the world, have brought this knowledge upon earth. "^ It 
\B not Moses and the prophets, nor Jesus Christ, nor his 
Apostles that have done it. The Almighty is the great me- 
ohanic of the creation; the first philosopher and original 
teacher of all science. — Let us, then, leam to reverence our 
master, and let us not forget the labors of our ancestors. 

Had we, at this day, no knowledge of machinery, and w>are 
it possible that man could have a view, as I have before de- 
scribed, of the structure and machinery of the universe, he 
would soon conceive the idea of constructing some at least 
of the mechanical works we now have: and the idea so con- 
ceived would progressively advance in practice. Or could 
a model of the imiverse, such as is called an orrery, be pre- 
sented before him and put in motion, his mind would arrire 
%t the same idea. Such an object and such a subject wouldi 
srhilst it improved him in knowledge useful to himself as a 
man and a member of society, as well as entertainii^, afford 
lar better matter for impressing him with a knowledge oif 
and a belief in the Creator, and of the reverence and gnU* 
hide that man owes to him, than the stupid texts of the Bible 
and of the Testament, from which, be the talents of the 
preacher what they may, only stupid sermons can be preaok> 
ed. If man must preach, let him preach something that Is 
edifying, and from texts that are known to be true. 

"rtie Bible of the creation is inexhaustible in texts. Ererj 
part of science, whether connected with the geometry of the 
universe, with the systems of animal and vegetable life, Off 
with the properties of inanimate matter, is a text as well for 
devotion as for philosophy — for gratitude as f(»' human im- 
provement. It will perhaps be said, that if such a revolution 
m the system of religion takes place, every preacher ou^t 
to be a philosopher. — Most cet'tainly; and every house oi 
devotion a school of science. 

It has been by wandering &om the immutable laws ol 
science, and the ri^ht use of reason, and setting up an ib* 
vented thing called revealed religion, that so many wild an^ 
blasphemous c<Miceits have been formed of the Almigktj, 
The Jews have made him Uie assassin of the human specie% 
to make room for the religion of the Jews. The CluistiaBt 
hftTe Bade him tbe murderer of himself, and the founder etf 



liA na Aos ov wmamom. [ 



a Bew Tfi&ghti^ to mtpenedo and expel tke Jeimh rollgicm. 
And to find pretense and admission for these things, thej 
Bivst hare supposed his power and his wisdom imperfect, or 
his will ohanffeable; and the ohangeableness of tke will is 
the imp^ectioa of the judgment. Tlie philosopher knows 
that tne laws of the Creator hare neyer changed with 
respect ^ther to the principles of science, or the properties oi 
mattw. Why, than, is it supposed they have changed with 
reR>eet to man? 

I here close tiia sabjeet. I hare shown in all the forego- 
ing parts of this work that the Bible and Testament are im- 
positions and forgeries; and I leare the eridence I haye pro-, 
oaoed in proof of it to be refuted, if anj one can do h; and I 
leare the ideas that are suggested in the conclusion ot the 
work to rest (m the mind of the reader; certain as I am. that 
when OfHBions are free, either in matters of goremmeat er 
vaKslMB, te«i*kiri& inaUj and poweifBlly pnyaE 



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